Facts and data will not sway some drivers, they believe seatbelts simply are not for them.

Most reading this blog post instinctively put on our seatbelts before driving. Although we don’t know all the stats by heart, we know that seatbelt use saves lives and its use reduces the chance of serious injury or death in the event of an accident by a lot.

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And, when we look at the data, the numbers are clear.

  • Most drivers and passengers killed in crashes are unrestrained.
  • Risk of death is reduced by 45 percent when using a seatbelt.
  • Risk of serious injury is cut by 50 percent when using a seatbelt.
  • Since its inception in 1975, seatbelts are responsible for saving more than 250,000 Americans.

Despite this overwhelming amount of data, evidence, personal anecdotes, and laws requiring seatbelt use, there’s still a minority of drivers who refuse to wear them.

Why?

There are several reasons, most of them not very good.

Personal experience- no seatbelt use saved them or they were thrown clear.

For every 100,000 lives saved by someone using a seatbelt, there’s always that one person who was not wearing one, crashed, and credits no seatbelt use for saving them.

Seatbelts hold you in, keeping you in the same position, surrounded by a car’s protective passenger compartment, while the forces of a crash happen around you. Any forces that you do experience are evenly distributed around the strongest parts of your body.

It’s that very act of holding and constricting someone that some seatbelt use-deniers say actually kills you.

They’ve either experienced it themselves, or they know someone close to them who claims similar.

A lot of people crash every day and, purely on a numbers game, there are going to be unbelted survivors. But, not many.

Even though you’ve heard stories about people surviving unbelted, crediting no belts for their existence, by that logic you shouldn’t come into work because you know someone who won the lottery and, hey, it could happen to you.

Do you see how that logic doesn’t hold up?

Seatbelt use is, through laws, forced onto them. Not wearing one is an act of protest, as drivers should have the right to choose.

Seatbelt laws are enforced on a state level and, as of this writing, there are 20 states that have primary seatbelt enforcement law. That means a police officer can pull you over and fine you specifically for not wearing one.

Some drivers in those states, and others, believe that that’s flat out wrong and they should have the choice not to wear one.

They believe enforcing seatbelts is government overreach.

The problem with this line of thinking is singular drivers do not exist in a vacuum.

A simple rear end collision from behind by one driver can turn deadly when they find that person in front of them was not wearing a seatbelt, causing them to fly through their car’s windshield.

Not requiring seatbelt use would statistically increase the occurrence of deaths and serious injuries, which puts added strain on our local health care system, not to mention the likelihood of increased insurance premiums to provide adequate coverage in this new injury/death-prone driving environment.

Drivers who choose to not wear seatbelts and then get in accidents, and the injuries/deaths that occur after the fact, affect everyone.

A lot of people struggle with statistics and the idea of risk mitigation.

Over 21 percent of Adult Americans are illiterate. If there are 258 million Adult Americans, that’s 54 million Americans that can’t read.

To put that into perspective, 54 million is the population of California and Illinois combined.

At some point, we have to understand that a lot of drivers out there struggle with statistics and the idea of risk mitigation through seatbelt use.

And as far as adoption goes, seatbelt enforcement is fairly new, first enforced by New York in 1984, dozens of other states quickly following suit.

There are a lot of people whose primary source of information is word of mouth, who did not grow up with and refuse to use seatbelts, and have passed that way of thinking to their uneducated offspring.

For a good chunk of drivers, not wearing seatbelts is just a way of life, something their parents did and now they do too.

Conclusion

Those are the main reasons people do not wear seatbelts.

They are outdated reasons not backed by data.

Thankfully, more states are making seatbelt use subject to primary enforcement.

Add to that a new generation of drivers understands that seatbelt use is non-negotiable, otherwise not a big deal.

Seatbelts absolutely reduce injury and death in the event of an accident, so strongly consider wearing one every time and encourage your friends to do so too.

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