New Jersey Truck Accident Lawyer: Seat Belt Use Hits All-Time High

close up of teen buckling his seatbelt
December 15, 2016
Legally Reviewed By Attorney Rand Spear, Esq.

If you buckle up each time you get in the car, you’re in good company. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seat belt use in the United States has reached an historic high, with 90 percent of all daytime drivers and passengers using a seat belt.

The federal government first began tracking seat belt use in 1994. Since then, the number of people who regularly buckle up has risen steadily—and for good reason: seat belts save lives. The NHTSA estimates that almost 345,000 fatalities have been prevented since 1975 due to seat belts. The agency says almost 14,000 people were saved in 2015 alone.

NHTSA Administrator Mar Rosekind stated that seat belts remain the top safety equipment in a vehicle despite ongoing technological advances that continue to make cars and trucks safer.

Interestingly, seat belt use is higher in the western states. Seat belt use is also highest among drivers of SUVs, with 92.3 percent of these motorists buckling up.

Seat Belts Required for Truck Drivers

Under Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rules, drivers of commercial vehicles, including semi-trucks, are required by federal law to wear seat belts. Studies have shown that individuals who wear seat belts are more likely to survive a semi-truck crash.

In the Large Truck Crash Causation Study, 23 percent of accidents involving a semi and a single vehicle involved a motorist who was not wearing a seat belt. Another study conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute revealed that 39.6 percent of drivers involved in a semi-truck crash were not wearing a seat belt. In near-misses, 66.5 percent of drivers were unbelted. According to researchers, this could indicate that motorists who don’t wear a seat belt are more likely to engage in risky driving behaviors.

Seat belts are also important for passengers. Data from a 2001 NHTSA study shows that 60 percent of all passengers involved in a fatal traffic accident were not wearing a seat belt.

Philadelphia Truck Accident Lawyer Explains That Seat Belts Are the Law in PA

Experienced Philadelphia truck accident lawyer Rand Spear explains that seat belts are a legal requirement in Pennsylvania. “Under state law, anyone sitting in the front seat of a vehicle must wear a seat belt. Failure to do so is a primary offense under Pennsylvania law, which means the police can ticket you for not wearing one—they don’t need a separate offense, such as speeding, to pull you over for not wearing a seat belt.” Children must also be properly restrained in an appropriate car seat or seat belt.

Besides being the law, seat belts are just common sense. Each time you get in the car, buckling up should be one of the first things you do. Turning off your cell phone or putting it out of sight should be the second.

To discuss your truck or traffic accident case with a knowledgeable Philadelphia and New Jersey truck accident lawyer, call Rand Spear today at 888-373-4LAW.