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Stay Safe Over the Holiday Season: Buckle Up!

Are you wearing your seat belt?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the rate of seat belt usage is at a record high, but there are still millions who aren’t buckling up. In 2012, officials estimate that just over 85 percent of drivers are wearing their seat belt during every car ride. It’s a decision that could save your life in the event of a motor-vehicle accident.
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“When it comes to driving safely, one of the most effective ways to protect yourself and your family is to use a seat belt,” said Ray LaHood, United States Department of Transportation Secretary.

Our Fort Myers car accident lawyers understand that it’s that time of year again — a time when we see a spike in the number of car accidents on our Southwest Florida roadways. The snowbirds are trickling in and northerners are taking their holiday vacations and venturing south to soak up some of our warm weather. With more travelers on our roadways, the risks for car accidents increase significantly. We see a good number of car accidents, fatalities and injuries during the holiday season. We’re asking all drivers to be safe and alert out there, and we’re asking all motorists to buckle up during every car ride.

Officials with the NHTSA recently conducted their National Occupant Protection Use Survey. According to this study, the rate of seat belt usage has been increasing each year since 1994. It’s still not enough though as there are thousands of Americans who are dying every year in car accidents.

In the state of Florida, all front seat passengers must wear a seat belt. This law applies to all vehicles that were manufactured after 1968. In addition to this law, all vehicle occupants who are under the age of 18 are required to wear a seat belt or must be in the appropriate child car seat. Parents and guardians are urged to make sure that all young passengers are properly buckled in and are sitting in the appropriate car seat/booster seat during every car ride.

Seat belt usage is consistently higher in areas that enforce primary seat belt laws. These primary laws allow an officer to write citations to motorists just for not using a seat belt rather than requiring additional traffic violations. Officers have been on the lookout too — hunting down motorists who aren’t following these rules. Buckle up not only to avoid a potentially costly traffic ticket, but to also help to stay safe on our roadways.

In the state of Florida, there were close to 235,500 car accidents reported in 2010. There were more than 338,000 motorists involved in these accidents. That means that there were well over 600 car accidents each and every day. In these accidents, there were close to 2,500 people killed and another 200,000 injured, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV). Many of these injuries and fatalities could have been prevented if more motorists wore their seat belt.

Enjoy the holiday season, but please do so safely and wear your seat belt to help stay safe.

If you are involved in a traffic accident, call Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. 1-800-283-2900.

More Blog Entries:

Fort Myers Traffic Accidents in Focus for Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, November 14, 2012