Making Virginia's roadways safer to avoid serious injuries

If you’ve done a decent amount of driving on Virginia roadways lately, you may have been held up in traffic for what might appear at first glance to be a pointless exercise – police officers standing in the road as you drive slowly by while they watch. What you probably experienced was a “Click It or Ticket” checkpoint, where those law enforcement officers were checking to see whether or not you were wearing your seatbelt. In many parts of Virginia, state police are teaming up with local police and sheriffs departments in a zero-tolerance campaign aimed at drivers who don’t buckle up.

If this doesn’t sound like a good use of police time, then consider the statistics – 62% of individuals killed in motor vehicle accidents were not wearing their seatbelt. Of the 462 people killed in Virginia auto accidents in 2006, just under half were partially or completely ejected from the vehicle. Not surprisingly, one of the ways that seat belts save lives is by preventing occupants from being ejected from their vehicle in an accident.

In fact, according to the Virginia DMV, if you are properly wearing your seatbelt, you are 45% less likely to be injured in a fatal auto accident and 60% less likely to be fatally injured in a pick-up truck, SUV or mini-van accident. The good news is that in Virginia about 79% of drivers wear there seatbelts, but for those 21% who don’t, their increased chance of being injured or dying in an auto accident means they’re on their way to becoming just another grim statistic.

Law enforcement efforts to promote seat belt use

According to the NHTSA, the “Click It or Ticket” effort is a cornerstone of their seat belt communications program. The program is designated by the NHTSA as a national CIOT mobilization effort to spread the word – through law enforcement – about the importance of seat belt safety. The primary audience for CIOT efforts is men between the ages 18 to 34, which research shows are less likely to wear seat belts. Virginia’s unbelted fatality statistics back up this claim – in 2006, about 47% of accident fatalities were unbelted drivers age 18 to 35 and 72% of all unbelted fatalities were male.

Seat Belt Facts

The Virginia DMV provides the following seat belt facts to help you keep yourself safe:

  • Airbags do not replace the need for seatbelts. When used with seatbelts, airbags further reduce the risk of death or injury in the event of a crash.
  • Seatbelts hold the driver in place, helping the driver maintain control of the car during a collision. The lap belt should fit low and snug across the hips while the shoulder belt keeps the driver from pitching forward into the steering wheel, dashboard and windshield.
  • For an adult, the shoulder harness should fit closely against the chest, never under the arm. The lap belt should fit low and snug across the hips, never across the abdomen.
  • For a child, the shoulder harness should fit over the shoulder and across the breastbone. The lap belt should fit low and snug across the hips.
  • For pregnant women, keep the lap belt low across the hips, never across the abdomen.
  • Medical costs resulting from traffic crashes are twice as costly for occupants who are not belted.
  • An insured driver who routinely wears a seatbelt pays higher premiums each year to cover crash-related medical expenses for those who do not wear seatbelts.
  • When a driver is buckled with a seatbelt, children are likely to be buckled 87 percent of the time. When a driver is not buckled in a seatbelt, children are likely to be buckled only 24 percent of the time.

Seatbelts are an important part of automobile safety. Reduce your chances of being injured in an accident by making sure that you and all of your passengers buckle up each and every time you get in the car.

Virginia Car Accident Lawyer

In the unfortunate even that you or someone you love is injured in an auto accident, you will probably want an experienced attorney on your side to fight for your rights. Don’t let yourself be bullied by insurance companies or hospital claims departments – contact our Virginia car accident lawyers today and let us work with you for the compensation that you deserve. Let us help you recover from the devastating effects of a serious auto accident and get your life back on track.