In 2007, Virginia (Va.) suffered 1,012 deaths on highways according to preliminary statistics which makes it the deadliest year since 1990. There is an indication that several of these fatalities were contributed to by either drivers or passengers failing to properly utilize seat belts. Of course, many of these accidents were probably caused by speed or alcohol and the victims had little chance, if any, regardless of the use of safety restraining devices. On average, 38% of highway fatalities are alcohol related according to the Virginia Department of Transportation. Virginia showed a 40% decrease in 2007 over 2006 in alcohol related fatalities which is attributable in part to increased enforcement of safety restraining devices in cars. However, car crashes are still the leading cause of deaths for Virginians under the age of 30. VDOT reports that wearing a seat belt can reduce the risk of dying in a car crash by 45% and by as much as 60% in a truck or a SUV. Based on these statistics, common sense indicates that the utilization of seat belts by drivers and passengers is a good way to prevent injuries related to automobile accidents as well as fatalities.
As a lawyer who works on wrongful death cases arising from car wrecks, I know your loved ones would rather have you alive than have an insurance claim for your death on the road. Buckle up to keep your family from needing to hire an injury attorney to help them pick up the pieces after a tragedy.