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PA personal injury lawyer: more people are buckling up

Seat belt use in 2013 reached 87%, up just slightly from 86% in 2012. The results came from National Occupant Protection Use Survey done annually by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The survey found that seat belt use for occupants in the Northeast rose at an even higher rate, from 80% in 2012, to 84% in 2013. Seat belt use was higher for occupants when travelling on expressways and in heavier traffic than on surface streets and in when traffic was lighter. The study also found that occupants in a pickup truck were less likely to use a seatbelt than those in a car, van or SUV.

The National Safety Council refers to seat belts are the single most effective traffic safety device for preventing death and injury. Although the NHTSA reports that seat belts can reduce the risk of crash injuries by 50%, there are still groups less likely to wear seat belts, including teens, commercial drivers and pick-up truck drivers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that adults age 18-34 are less likely to wear seat belts than adults 35 an older. They also state that men are 10% less likely than women to wear seat belts.

49 states and the District of Columbia have mandatory set belt laws. New Hampshire does not have a seat belt law for adults. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that seat belt laws increase seat belt use, especially with publicized enforcement. In 2012, it is estimated that 12,174 lives were saved by seat belt use. For drivers and front-seat passengers, using a lap and shoulder belt can reduce the risk of fatal injury by 60% in an SUV, van or pickup and 45% in a car.

The CDC reports that states with primary seat belt laws have a nearly 10% higher rate of seat belt use. Primary laws allow police officers to pull over drivers and issue tickets just because the driver or passenger is not wearing a seat belt. Those states with secondary laws only allow officers to issue tickets for belt violations if the drive has been pulled over for another offence.

Just Drive PA encourages seat belt use at all times, including for short distance driving, reporting that three out of four crashes occur within 25 miles of home. Seat belt use is important for every vehicle occupant, including back seat riders. If you are unrestrained in the back seat you can still be thrown from the vehicle and also pose a risk to others in the vehicle.

Pennsylvania seat belt laws requiring drivers and front seat passengers to wear a seat belt at all times. The law also requires any back seat drivers under the age of 18 to wear a seat belt at all times as well. Failure to do so is considered a primary offense, and the driver of the vehicle can be fined.

Make sure that you and everyone riding in your vehicle are wearing a seat belt at all times, on every trip, no matter how short. You can help save a life.

If you have been injured in a car accident, call a PA personal injury lawyer at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys at 855-866-5529 or visit us online at www.munley.com.

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