A horrific crash that claimed the life of a 10-year-old boy is being blamed on a truck mat, however, the victim's mother hopes the accident will serve as a reminder of how critical it is for all vehicle occupants to wear their seat belts.
According to reports from law enforcement, the boy’s mother was driving on Abington Road in Lenoir, North Carolina, along with her son, daughter, and three other children. They were on their way to a local river to go swimming.
As the mother was driving, a heavy truck mat became caught on the vehicle’s gas pedal, causing the truck to accelerate to between 75-80 mph as it drove through a winding section of road. The young victim’s mother lost control of the truck and it flipped over 16 times, even snapping the rims off the truck.
The boy, who was not wearing his seat belt, was thrown from the vehicle and died at the scene of the crash. The other children in the truck, who were wearing their seat belts, all suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
Seat Belt Statistics
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than half of the 22,241 victims who died in vehicle crashes in 2015, (the most recent year data is available), more than half of the victims between the ages of 13 through 44 were not wearing seat belts.
Study after study have proven the effectiveness in how wearing seat belts save lives. Some of these results include:
- In 2015, 14,000 lives were saved because the victims were wearing seat belts;
- Although air bags do provide protection for vehicle occupants, they do not offer a seat belt substitute;
- Wearing seat belts reduces accident deaths and injuries by 50 percent; and
- Primary seat belt laws make a significant difference over secondary enforcement.
A primary enforcement seat belt law means law enforcement can stop a vehicle and issue a violation if anyone in that vehicle is not wearing a seat belt. Secondary enforcement means this can only happen if the officer stopped the vehicle for another reason first. Currently, there are 32 states who do not have primary enforcement laws enacted, despite the fact that more than 90 percent of people wear their seat belts in states with primary laws, compared to only 83 percent in states with secondary or no seat belt laws.
North Carolina does have a primary seat belt law. Under the law, all drivers and occupants of a vehicle who are 16 years of age and older are required to wear their seat belt. Children younger than 16 are covered by the state’s Child Passenger Safety law.
Contact a Carolinas Car Accident Attorney
Our North Carolina personal injury firm offers sincere condolences to the family of the young boy. It is always tragic when a person is killed in an accident, but when the victim is a child, that tragedy is deepened even more. In an interview, the boy’s mother asked of all parents, “I don't care how mad your children get, you make them wear their seatbelts in the name of my son, in honor of him, you wear your seat belt please,” she said.