Buckle Down on Buckling Up: The Importance of Seatbelt Usage
Seatbelt usage and seatbelt safety is a hot topic with law enforcement. The “Click It or Ticket” campaign has made huge strides in prompting drivers to not only buckle up themselves, but make sure their passengers are strapped in as well. However, there are still people who choose to ignore this law and that choice can have tragic, and deadly, consequences. An unfortunate example of this is a recent vehicle fatality in Charlotte County.https://www.mysuncoast.com/news/local/north-port-man-killed-overnight-after-being-ejected-from-vehicle/article_774b8812-45fb-11e7-aa3b-43edb8ac94e0.html A North Port resident, Brian J. Serrano Otero, was traveling westbound on SR 776 when he steered into the left turn lane, then into the grass median, and finally into the eastbound lanes where he struck a concrete curb. The vehicle was launched up onto the sidewalk and into an embankment, and eventually overturned on the shoulder of the road after striking multiple trees. In the accident, Mr. Serrano Otero was ejected from the vehicle and was deceased on the scene. He wasn’t wearing a seatbelt.
While there is no way to know for sure if this driver would have lived if he had been wearing his safety belt, his chances of survival would have been much higher if he had chosen to buckle up. Not being properly restrained doesn’t just put you at risk of being ejected in an accident, but it also makes the likelihood of head and upper body injury much higher in a collision since there is nothing offering support for your chest, shoulders, head and neck upon impact. These types of injuries are serious, and often deadly. All too often, they occur because people fail to wear their seatbelt, or they wear it the wrong way.
Your seatbelt should fit you snugly but not so tightly that it is uncomfortable. The lap portion of the belt should set across your hips, NOT your belly area or your legs. The shoulder strap should hit midway between your neck and the outside edge of your shoulder. If it’s cutting into your neck, the belt needs to be adjusted since it can cause serious injury if left at the wrong height. The belt should lay across the chest region when fastened. In no circumstance should the belt be placed behind you (leaving the lap belt in tact). This is not an effective method of using the belt and can actually cause harm in an accident. If you have a shorter passenger, or a child in the car that is old enough to be out of a safety seat, you can purchase seatbelt adjustment accessories to help them achieve the proper fit from their safety belt. Children need to be secured in an age-appropriate seat with a 5-point harness, or using the regular belt with the lift from a booster seat.
We encourage you to buckle up, and make your passengers do the same. If you are in an accident, and your passenger is injured due to not wearing a belt, YOU could be held liable. If it’s your car, your rules apply, and you have the right to require everyone in the car to be restrained. Were you or someone you love injured in an accident, due to lack of seatbelt usage or other negligence? Sessums Law Group is ready to help you get the compensation you deserve. Our highly qualified legal team is proud to serve the greater Tampa Bay and Sarasota areas, and when the unexpected happens, WE STAND FOR YOU!