Seat Belts Still Summer’s Best Bet for Avoiding Collision Injury

Jun 2013

According to Time Business & Money, peak traffic ticket season is here and law enforcement is cracking down on violators who do not buckle their seat belts while in the car.  The two weeks surrounding Memorial Day are always a prime time for tickets to be issued as police step up enforcement of seat belt laws as part of the NHTSA’s National Seat Belt Enforcement Mobilization Campaign. It likely signals what we know will be a long summer of traffic enforcement efforts.

Our San Antonio accident lawyers know that wearing a seat belt can help to prevent catastrophic injury or death in the event that an auto accident does happen. Since police are cracking down on seat belt violators, drivers and passengers now have even more reasons to buckle up: to avoid a ticket and to save a life. However, whether an accident victim was wearing a seat belt at time of collision has no bearing on whether a suit for damages should be pursued against the at-fault driver.

Police Focus on Enforcing Seat Belt Laws

According to Time Business, law enforcement will be focusing on enforcing seat belt laws at multiple times during the day and evening. However, drivers and passengers in cars at night tend to buckle up less often than during the day, so it is likely that more citations will be issued in the evening. Further, men between the ages of 18 and 34 are also the least likely to wear seat belts reliably every time they are in the car, so there may be more citations issued to people within this age group.

The idea behind the added enforcement and behind the National Seat Belt Enforcement Mobilization Campaign is to encourage drivers to get into the habit of buckling up. While some argue that the extra enforcement creates a police state or is simply an effort to generate revenue, the fact is that the focus of seat belt enforcement is safety. This is why there is also a public education program called Click It or Ticket, which goes along with the stepped-up citations.

Hopefully, when people either get a ticket or see that there is an increased chance of being cited, they will make an extra effort to be conscious about buckling their seat belts even for short trips or even when they are passengers in cars. Once drivers and passengers get more used to buckling their seat belts whenever they are in the car, they will ideally continue to do so even after the extra enforcement period has ended.

Making the choice to buckle up every time is a smart decision for everyone.

Of course, it is also important to be aware that your decision to wear a seat belt or not wear a seat belt should not have an impact on your ability to recover compensation if you are involved in a car accident that was caused by someone else. In fact, in a case called Nabors Wells Services LTD. v. Romero, Texas recently reaffirmed the long-standing rule that someone who caused a car accident could not reduce his liability by using the “seat-belt defense” against the injured victim.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact the Herrera Law Firm at 800-455-1054 for a free case evaluation.

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