Seat Belts Cost Lives
Seat belts are killing us. The use of a seat belt, while in an accident, has caused people to fracture bones, injure their necks, and even caused death. The most common injuries caused by seat belts are abrasions, bruises, and cuts. The more severe injuries are fractures, internal organ damage, and various soft tissue injuries. In addition, seat belts also can cause damage to the rib cage and chest areas, and they can even burn the occupants’ skin if the seat belts are made of flammable material. The more serious injuries are due to the drivers and passengers being impinged and/or crushed inside the vehicles, unable to escape the impact due to the seatbelt literally locking them in place. Consider, for example, a severe impact on the driver’s side door of a vehicle with a driver wearing a seat belt. The driver could be killed when the interior of the driving area gets completely demolished, leaving no means of escape for the driver. Without a seat belt, that same driver could possibly maneuver to the passenger seat and could have a stronger chance of surviving the accident.
Even though seat belts are harming people, they are installed in every motor vehicle and it is mandatory that they be worn. If we were not forced to wear seat belts, these injuries and deaths could be prevented. When you consider that drivers have an enormous responsibility while operating a vehicle, the remedy is clear and it does not involve the use of seat belts. Drivers simply need to obey the laws, drive carefully, react cautiously, drive with alertness, and be very aware of their surroundings. In short, drivers need to respect the road. If people could, without deviation, follow these driving practices, it could prevent a tremendous amount of accidents, which in turn, would stop the faulty promotion of seat belt use and would thus stop people from getting harmed by wearing seat belts.
Consider that there is a seat belt found in every car, but not in any motorcycle. How do motorcyclists stay safe? They ride with great caution and alertness, using hand signals, and driving in the daylight with the cycle headlights activated. Motorcyclists do not have any protection surrounding them while driving. Comparing motorcycles to cars, cars have seat belts, airbags, and steel cages surrounding their occupants. All of this equipment is installed to hopefully protect against any impact and give the driver a significantly greater sense of security than that of the motorcycle riders, but a much lower rate of attention while on the road.
A motorcycle rider does not have any of the above protections, and therefore, must possess a lot more highway alertness to remain safe. Motorcycle riding requires skill, coordination, and attention. There is a lot going on at once while driving a motorcycle, such as clutch control, using two separate brakes, and keeping the cycle upright. Motorcycle riders have better driving practices, such as frequently checking their blind spot and doing multiple head checks before merging into a lane. If these exercises are not done often, the motorcycle will eventually come into contact with a car, causing an accident. This fear of the rider ensures an enhanced dedication to safety such as the check of their blindspot most, if not, all of the time. All of these factors are performed to prevent a rider from having an accident with another vehicle. Motorcycle riders are “in tune” to their ride, making them a better driver overall. The motorcyclist’s philosophy is to ride “like everyone is trying to kill you.” This motto allows the rider to anticipate and look for the most dangerous situations. As a rider, “You learn never to trust another driver with your own safety and this makes you a better, more defensive driver.” This same philosophy needs to be accepted and implemented in the world of motor vehicle drivers.
According to Studinski Law, it is estimated that about 33% of all deaths involved in car accidents are caused by reckless driving. Also, driver-related auto accidents include distracted drivers. There are about 1,000 people injured and nine people killed every day because of distracted driving. Distracted driving takes the attention of the driver away from the task of driving. Such distractions include eating, drinking, and texting. Distracted driving alone causes 20% of car accident injuries, while 30% of all auto accidents are credited to the speed of reckless drivers. “These accidents are a direct result of negligence.” Examples of poor driving include speeding, failure to yield the right of way, running through stop lights, tailgating, erratic driving and racing, and texting or talking on the cell phone. Not only are these examples of reckless driving and the cause of accidents, they are illegal.
When we consider young drivers, it is even more evident that the method to make driving safer is by having safer drivers and not by the use of seat belts. “If we could change the manners and mentality of drivers, mostly young ones, there would be a significant reduction in reckless driving accidents.” Moreover, “The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) reports drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 are three times more likely to be involved in a crash then drivers over 20. In fact, teenage drivers cause significantly more accidents than senior drivers.” In another study, “The US Census Bureau estimates that 12.2% of auto wrecks in the United States are caused by teenage drivers while elderly drivers over the age of 65 are responsible for 7.5% of crashes.” The reason is because young drivers are more likely to be distracted and to be less cautious on the roadways than older drivers. Consequently, there needs to be more driving practice and stricter regulations on the roadways so there are less accidents and less injuries. With more education and better training for young drivers, the amount of accidents will greatly decline. Likewise, lessons need to be taught early on and better driving practices need to be implemented, similar to the ones held by motorcyclists.
In conclusion, better driving practices, earlier intervention, and more highway alertness could help to prevent most accidents, and therefore, reduce the number of injuries and deaths caused by the false reliance on seat belts.
Chandler, R. 7 Reasons Motorcycle Riders Make Better Car Drivers. 2018. www.ridenowchandler.com
Studinski, J. 2021. www.wisconsinlawyer.com