Do Not Wear Your Seat Belt
Seat belts can be fatal. They can also cause severe injuries if an individual is involved in a car accident and wearing this restrictive device. To reduce these risks, take off the belt, drive more cautiously and be relentlessly aware of the road and its surroundings.
To begin, the opponents of this viewpoint strongly suggest statistics that promote the use of seat belts. The article “Seat Belt Statistics” states that “seat belts reduce the risk of death by 45% and cut the risk of serious injury by 50%.” The same article also notes that “on average, 47% of people who die in car accidents weren’t wearing their seat belts.” Reading such an article seems to suggest that it is imperative to wear seat belts for protection and in order to save lives. The reasoning is if a driver gets into an accident, the purpose of the safety belt is to hold the person in place and keep the person secured in the seat. In addition, fastening a seat belt will supposedly keep the occupant from being ejected through a window or thrown into a windshield. The opponents promise that seat belts are designed to protect the passengers. But, if seat belts are devices that are supposed to save lives and spare drivers from serious injuries, then they should completely reduce the risk of dying in a car crash and reduce the risk of serious injury. But they do not. According to “Seat Belt Statistics,” they reduce the risk of serious injury by only 50% and the risk of death by only 45%, which is much lower than what we would expect. While all of these claims by the opponents appear to be valid on the surface, these promises are clearly not full-proof. In fact, they are far from the truth.
On the contrary to these opponents’ ideas, seat belt use is dangerous. Consider getting into a horrific car accident, needing to get out of the vehicle, but you cannot because the seat belt is strapping you in a locked position, preventing escape from the seat. In addition, according to the Washington Post article “Here’s how good (or awful) your hometown drivers are at wearing a seatbelt,” there are about 14% of people nationwide who do not wear seat belts. According to the article “Common Seat Belt Issues: Why You Should Get Them Checked,” there are defects that could include locking issues, a torn or worn belt, belt slack, belt failure, and even retractor failure. They malfunction and because of that, they will not protect you, instead they will kill you. Included in the report “Seat Belt Injuries,” seat belts can cause serious injuries. Seat belts not only impact the neck, spine, head, chest, abdomen, and other internal structures, seat belts can be lethal.
In addition, according to information on “Seat Belt Injury Statistics,” “thousands of people suffer severe injuries or lose their lives every year due to a defective or malfunctioning seat belt.” Such injuries occur during the pressure of extreme force upon impact with the restraint from the seat belt. This article discusses injuries that include skin abrasions and bruising, as well as, internal injuries, such as liver or spleen lacerations. Other symptoms could encompass severe soreness when breathing, laying down, or moving one’s arms. These common injuries caused by the use of a seat belt are commonly referred to as seat belt syndrome. These victims could suffer in pain which could last for days or even up to weeks after an accident.
As indicated by “A Seat Belt History Timeline,” safety restraints in a vehicle can be traced back to about two centuries. The article explained how the use of seat belts was not strictly enforced and only about 10% of Americans wore seat belts in their vehicles in the 1980s. They have been available to use in motor vehicles, but not all states immediately mandated the use of them. Even today, as mentioned on “Seat Belt Law,” the state of New Hampshire does not have a seat belt law requiring people over the age of eighteen to wear a seat belt. There are no significant amounts of accidents in New Hampshire as compared to other states that are wearing seat belts. In fact, this article also points out that “even in the absence of a seat belt law, New Hampshire’s roads are among the safest in the country.” Moreover, New Hampshire is not among the top five states that have the most car accidents. In fact, New Hampshire is ranked twenty ninth among the states. According to “Car Accidents by State,” these top five states requiring seat belts include California, Texas, Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina, all of which have a fatality rate that is significantly higher than the fatality rate in New Hampshire, the state that does not require a seat belt.
Some groups are even against such seat belt legislation. These individuals believe that the laws requiring the wearing of seat belts are an infringement on one’s individual liberty. Also, they believe that the number of lives saved by wearing seat belts are overstated.
Some groups are even against such seat belt legislation. These individuals believe that the laws requiring the wearing of seat belts are an infringement on one’s individual liberty. Also, they believe that the number of lives saved by wearing seat belts are overstated. According to “Risk Homeostasis: Reducing risk does not necessarily reduce accidents,” Dr. Gerald Wilde, a professor of psychology at Queen’s University, proposed a theory in 1982, called the Risk Homeostasis Theory. It states that “every person has an acceptable level of risk that they find tolerable.” There is a subjective level of risk, and the theory suggests that rather than more controls and restrictions, sometimes fewer controls and more motivation could be much more effective. It also states that when people make their own decisions about reducing risk to an appropriate level, they will then behave accordingly.
Can wearing a seat belt cause injury? Did any one person ever die from wearing a seat belt? Can fastening a seat belt cause internal injury and/or brain injury? The answer to all of these questions is a profound yes.
There are many excuses for not wanting to wear a seat belt. “It is so uncomfortable,” “I’m just going down the street and I’ll be home in a minute,” and the favorite, “I am a great driver.” The one excuse that really sticks out is “it could kill you,” literally. Even if you do wear a seat belt, it could be defective and still cause you to be seriously injured. We must not risk the mechanical failure of seat belts. Seat belts are instruments of injury. The solution is simple. Be smart, be proactive, and take responsibility on the road, so that every time you put your foot on the gas pedal, you know you are coming home safely.
“Common Seat Belt Issues: Why You Should Get Them Checked.” September 8, 2021.
Huecker, M. R., Chapman, J. “Seat Belt Injuries.” StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan. 2022 Sep 9.
Ingraham, C. “Here’s how good (or awful) your hometown drivers are at wearing a seatbelt.” April 4, 2017.
McGinley, K., Brennan, R. (2022, December 29). “Car Accidents by State.”
Lubitz, K. (2020, July 21). “Risk Homeostasis: Reducing risk does not necessarily reduce accidents.”
“Seat Belt Law.” Retrieved April 17, 2023.
“Seat Belt Injury Statistics.” Retrieved April 17, 2023.
“Seat Belt Statistics.” The Zebra. (2023, January 31).
Sheldon, A. “A Seat Belt History Timeline.” March 2, 2023.
Could you let me know if this is a decent first draft of a rebuttal argument and if this is the proper way to write it? What would I have to change or improve?
Hi Professor, I still need feedback on this argument. When you get a chance, can you please let me know if this is what you are looking for?
Hey, ChickenNugget, this is generally good and gets the notion of a Rebuttal argument correct, but it doesn’t seem significantly different than the arguments in the rest of your short papers. The Worthy Opponent you’ve identified is the same statistics you’ve used elsewhere, and your rebuttal is largely the same as you’ve been using.
When you tell us:
readers expecting a rebuttal to that data are thinking, “How did the investigators determine that seat belts “reduced the risk of death by 45%”? Are they comparing identical accidents with the same drivers and passengers, sometimes belted, sometimes not, and noting how often they died? In other words, we’re looking for an attack on the statistics that haven’t been explained.
So, when you respond instead that seat belts can be dangerous and cause injuries, we’re disappointed that you’ve missed an opportunity.
New Hampshire is your best chance for a slam dunk rebuttal if the data supports your overall theory that unbelted drivers get into, are involved in, and cause fewer accidents, and that they suffer fewer injuries and deaths than belted drivers and passengers. If you can possibly drill down on this “naturally occurring experiment” you should. I see what you did with the “not among the top five states” in accidents. What are they, sixth?
You’ve found the right angle for true rebuttal. See what else you can make of the comparison between New Hampshire drivers/passengers/accidents/deaths/injuries and the rest of the country where seat belts are mandated. That’s a lot of data sets to compare. Likely you’ll find a comparison that favors your argument.
I revised! Hopefully this is more of what you were looking for, and can receive a regrade.
Those two changes alter the tone very much in your favor.
Regraded SAT APR 29