Seat belt use factor in many Alabama car accident fatalities

In years past, individuals involved in car accidents were very likely to sustain serious injuries of even fatal injuries. Today, states like Alabama have worked hard to make safety improvements to both rural and urban roads and highways. Additionally, car manufacturers have greatly improved the safety and handling of cars and trucks through technology including stability control, front and side-impact airbags and reinforced impact protection.

Despite efforts to improve both road and motor vehicle safety, each year hundreds of Alabama residents lose their lives in fatal car accidents. Alabama State Police recently released preliminary numbers for 2012, reporting that 514 people died in car and truck accidents on Alabama's roads.

This number is concerning, as even one death is one too many. What's even more alarming, however, is that nearly 60 percent of fatal car accidents involved individuals who were not properly restrained or wearing seat belts at the time the crash occurred.

When it comes to preventing serious injury or death, a seat belt is the single most important safety feature in a motor vehicle. Today all personal motor vehicles are equipped with seat belts. Additionally, Alabama law requires that all drivers and passengers in a moving motor vehicle be properly restrained. This includes the proper use of child car seats and booster seats.

There is no excuse or reason not to wear a seat belt. Doing so can literally save an individual's life and help prevent serious injury or death if involved in a car accident. All Alabama drivers would be wise to buckle-up as soon as they get behind the wheel of a vehicle. Likewise, drivers should ensure all passengers are properly restrained at all times while a vehicle is in motion.

Source: WKRG-TV, "514 People Died in Alabama Highway Wrecks in 2012," Associated Press, Feb. 11, 2013

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