There are some car features we take for granted, like the seat belt. The seat belt was not always a standard feature in cars. In fact, they were first implemented in airplanes! We take a look at the history of seat belt safety to better understand where they came from and how important they are in preventing car accident-related injuries and fatalities.
Seat Belt Timeline
- Early 1800s – British citizen created a self-made harness to use while on his glider.
- 1885 – Edward Claghorn brought the safety belt to the U.S. market, which was mostly used for firefighters and construction workers. However, they were using safety belts to secure themselves to a fixed object, not in their vehicles.
- 1890’s – Cars were first introduced to the U.S. but seat belts are not commonplace.
- 1930’s – Airplanes use seat belts.
- 1950’s – Cars start using retractable seat belts.
- 1959 – Volvo introduces the first three-point seatbelt system.
- 1966 – Congress passes the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act. The law enforced safety standards on car manufacturers, including seat belts. The act also created what is known today as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
- 1983 – Although the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act was passed in the 60s, it wasn’t until almost 20 years later that seat belt wearing was required for all drivers and front-sitting passengers.
- 1991 – Wearing a seatbelt became required for the driver and all passengers in a vehicle.
- 1997 – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that seat belt use increased to 68% compared to only 11% back in 1981.
- 2010 – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that seat belt use is at 85%.
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Seat Belt Safety
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, car crashes killed over 33,000 people in 2009. Another 2.2 million people were injured. Based on reporting by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than half of those killed in car crashes in 2009 were not wearing seat belts. Seat belts are the number one way to prevent fatalities and serious injuries in car crashes.
Seat Belt Safety Statistics
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been monitoring seat belt effectiveness since the early 1980s.
- The majority of people killed in motor vehicle accidents were unrestrained.
- People who wear seat belts reduce their risk of death by 45%. They cut the risk of serious injury by 50%.
- Drivers and passengers who do not wear a seat belt are 30 times more likely to be ejected from the car during a crash.
- In 2009 seat belts saved about 13,000 lives.
- In 2016 seat belts saved about 15,000 lives.
- Children are less likely to want to use a seat belt as they get older. In 2016 nearly half of the children who were killed in crashes were not wearing seat belts.
- Young adults aged 18-34 are less likely to wear a seat belt than those 35 years or older.
- Women are more likely to use seat belts than men.
- People who live in urban and suburban areas are more likely to use a seat belt than those who live in rural areas.
- In 2016, over 2.6 million motorists and passengers had to go to the emergency department because of injuries sustained from motor vehicle crashes.
Seat Belt Safety in Nevada
Overall, Nevada’s seat belt use is higher than the national average. About 91% of Nevadans wear seat belts, compared to 86% in the rest of the country. However, Nevada can still improve its averages. 2,213 motor vehicle drivers or passengers were killed in Nevada from 2003 to 2012.
Seat belt law in Nevada requires everyone to wear a seat belt at all times. This includes drivers, front passengers and back seat passengers. The law states that everyone over the age of six or who weighs more than 60 pounds must wear a seat belt. Law enforcement can issue citations to the driver not wearing a seat belt, and for a child who is not wearing a seat belt.
Although the fine is only $25 for not wearing a seat belt in Nevada, the risk you are putting yourself is much greater. Wearing a seat belt reduces your chances of getting injured or killed in a car crash, so you might as well wear one regardless if your state doesn’t have a primary enforcement seat belt law.
Before we discuss our seat belt safety tips, we want to let you know that working with an experienced Las Vegas car accident attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve as a victim. Some people aren’t sure they need a lawyer and may take whatever the insurance company offers as a settlement. We will stand up for your rights and help you win just compensation. Call Anthem Injury Lawyers today for your free case analysis: (702) 857-6000.
Safety Tips for Increased Seat Belt Effectiveness
- Remember to buckle up before the car starts.
- Make sure your seat belt fits you. If you are purchasing a new car, check the seat belts. Ask the dealer about seat belt adjusters.
- Children must sit in the backseat until they are 13 years old.
- Check seat belts for any breaks or frays. A broken seat belt is not going to be as effective.
- Only have one person per seat belt at a time. Even if it’s a quick trip, do not double up.
- Wear the shoulder belt close to your body, not under your shoulder or behind your back. Wear the lap belt low across your hips and not your stomach.
- If you are pregnant, still wear a seat belt.
- Infants and children have their own seat belt safety rules. Make sure you have the proper seat for them and you understand how it works.
- If you’re driving, remind all passengers to buckle up.
- If you have children, wearing a seat belt for every trip sets a good example for them.
Experienced Las Vegas Personal Injury Lawyers
If you or a loved one has been in a car accident, you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. If you were in an accident and you were not wearing a seat belt, a personal injury lawyer can help you protect your rights. Points like this and many others that may not be apparent to many people, are carefully weighed and followed up on by our experienced Las Vegas car accident attorneys. Our car accident lawyers are experienced at handling all types of car accidents. These accidents include: large trucks or SUVs, accidents involving motorcyclists and bicyclists, and accidents where there was a driver who was driving under the influence/with an elevated blood alcohol concentration (BAC). You can be assured that our attorneys will expertly review the facts. If we determine that you have a case, we’ll aggressively represent you so you receive the best opportunity to get the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
But what about looking up information online to inform you, if you have been involved in a car accident in Las Vegas? It’s okay to inform yourself with some data from the Internet. But when it comes to seeking maximum compensation, you’ll want to put your case in the hands of the experts: Anthem Injury Lawyers, car accident attorneys serving Las Vegas and vicinity. Not only do we have extensive car accident case experience, we are up to date on current legal challenges. This includes the latest events surrounding COVID-19, and will work aggressively to protect your rights and help you receive maximum compensation. Call us today for a free case analysis: (702) 857-6000. Our law office is located in Henderson, but we work with clients all over the Las Vegas Valley. Should you need us to, we can come to you. Contact us today if you’ve been the victim in a car accident in the Las Vegas area.
Last updated Wednesday, February 21st, 2024