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Deadly Pennyslvania Accident Serves as a Reminder of the Importance of Seatbelts

A deadly car accident in Wells Tannery last month serves as a reminder that seatbelts are not an inconvenience – they can be lifesavers.  Two teens died and two were seriously injured when the driver of their car apparently lost control sending the vehicle off the roadway and into several trees.  Sadly, none of the four occupants were wearing a seatbelt.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that while the use of seatbelts saved 356 lives in Pennsylvania in 2010, another 136 could have been saved if all of the people had buckled up. The NHTSA reports that 868 people (aged 5 and over) died in PA accidents in 2010. Of those, 273 were properly restrained, whereas 505 did not have their seatbelts on at the time of the crash.

JustDrivePA.org maintains key educational material on its website related to seatbelt usage. Statistics on the site report that a seat belt increases your chances of surviving a crash by up to 60 percent.

Although wearing a seatbelt is no guarantee the car occupant will survive an accident, the odds of surviving are significant. Unfortunately, teens are found to be the demographic least likely to wear their seatbelts.  The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation reports there were 57 car crash deaths in accidents in 2010 that involved a 16- or 17-year-old driver.  Over half of the teen driver and passenger deaths were caused by the drivers not wearing a seatbelt. Teens are also less experienced behind the wheel, making this a deadly combination.

Pennsylvania is one of 17 states with a secondary seat-belt law. The law is primary for drivers under the age of 18 and their passengers.  PA law requires all drivers and front-seat passengers to be properly restrained, and children under the age of four to be properly restrained in an approved child safety seat. All passengers under 18-years-old must be properly restrained when riding anywhere in the vehicle.  Police can charge drivers for not wearing a seatbelt after being stopped for a primary offense.

The Pennsylvania Division of Motor Vehicles reports that many people do not use a seatbelt believing they can safely brace themselves against impact.  Not so. The DMV states:  “In a collision, your vehicle stops, but your body keeps moving at the same speed you were traveling until it hits the instrument panel or windshield. In most crashes, the bodies of the passengers and drivers hit the vehicle’s interior surfaces with several tons of force. This will shatter even the strongest arms and legs.”

Our Pennsylvania car accident attorneys urge teenagers and all drivers and their passengers to wear a safety belt when riding in a vehicle. The simple act of buckling a seatbelt can save your life. We encourage teens and their parents to follow the law and to practice safe driving behaviors at all times.

About Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys

Munley Law is a Pennsylvania accident and injury law firm that represents car accident victims and their families throughout the state of Pennsylvania and the Northeast, including those injured in accidents that involve speeding, distracted driving, drunk driving, fatigued driving, aggressive driving and careless driving in hazardous weather conditions. The Pennsylvania personal injury law firm’s additional practice areas include trucking accidents, motorcycle accidents, medical malpractice, defective products, toxic chemicals, workplace injuries, nursing home litigation and other serious accidents. To contact the law firm, use the firm’s online contact form.

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