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The Seat Belt Controversy

Are seat belts a dangerous product? This is a very interesting question and brings up the vigorous debate surrounding the mandated use of seat belts.

Most people have had the safety message drummed into their heads that wearing a seat belt saves lives. There are numerous commercials on TV, the radio, in magazines and newspapers that tout the effectiveness of using a seat belt. “Buckle Up” campaigns in some form or another have been launched in just about every state in effort to reduce the number of traffic fatalities. Every state, but New Hampshire, has laws mandating seat belt use in some form or another.

Traffic safety stats show that the lowly seat belt has been credited with saving at least 9,500 lives per year. These same statistics are also showing that virtually 60% of those who die in car crashes were not wearing seat belts. So what is going on here?

Again, it’s the statistics that show some individuals are more likely to buckle up than others – for instance, young male drivers from age 16 to 25 – who believe they are immortal. Immortal isn’t exactly the word that comes to mind, but high-risk driver does.

You might find it interesting to learn that over the years seat belts have changed from lap belts to three point belts, from shoulder to hip to waist. The whole point of a seat belt is to spread the impact of a sudden, wrenching stop across the chest and over the stronger shoulder and hipbones. The idea is to minimize any injuries, not including the bruises and, at times, fractured ribs from the force of the impact.

Wearing seat belts is so ingrained in the law, that in most states not wearing a seat belt ranks as either a primary or secondary offense. Interestingly, there are also 14 states where people who sue for damages after an accident may have their award reduced for not wearing a belt. So with all of this information, what is the hang up with seat belts? The hang up appears to be that some people feel that being made to wear a seat belt in infringing on their rights; their primary argument is that not wearing one isn’t hurting anyone but themselves.

Sure there is some credibility lent to these particular arguments in the form of stats that tell the story of seat belt induced deaths – cardiac arrest and life threatening injuries to the chest, neck and abdomen. Frankly more people’s lives are saved by wearing a seat belt than not, however, there is an element of choice involved here. If someone feels strongly enough about not wearing a seat belt, it is their choice – and they must pay whatever consequences may follow in the event of an accident.

Tim Anderson works with Atlanta Personal Injury attorney, Stephen M. Ozcomert. The firm specializes in personal injury, malpractice, motorcycle accidents, and wrongful death. To learn more about Atlanta personal injury lawyer, Stephen M. Ozcomert or Atlanta personal injury, Atlanta personal injury lawyer, Atlanta personal injury attorney, visit

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