Seat Belt Safety
In Massachusetts…It’s the LAW!
Seatbelt Safety According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), from 1982 through 1995 safety belts are estimated to have saved 74,769 lives. Even more lives could be saved and serious injuries avoided if seat belt use in the United States, currently at 68 percent, could be increased to 90 percent, levels that are common in many other countries.
America’s Experience with Seat Belt and Child Seat Use.
Seat belts and child safety seats work, but, fewer than 40 percent of both adults and children who died in traffic crashes were properly restrained.
Seat belts work.
Seat Belts are the most effective means of reducing fatalities and serious injuries when crashes occur and are estimated to save 9,500 lives in America each year. Research has found that lap/shoulder belts, when used properly, reduce the risk of fatal injury to front seat passenger car occupants by 45 percent and the risk of moderate to critical injury by 50 percent. For light truck occupants, seat belts reduce the risk of fatal injury by 60 percent and moderate-to-critical injury by 65 percent.
Every 14 seconds someone in America is injured in a traffic crash and every 12 minutes someone is killed. When a traffic crash occurs, occupants are still traveling at the vehicle’s original speed at the moment of impact. Just after the vehicle rapidly comes to a complete stop, unbelted occupants slam into the steering wheel, windshield, or other parts of the vehicle’s interior. Seat belts are effective in reducing fatalities and injuries caused by this second collision, or “human collision,” when the vehicle’s occupants hit some part of the vehicle interior or other occupants. Seat belts provide the greatest protection against occupant ejection. In fatal crashes in 1995, only two percent of restrained passenger car occupants were ejected, compared to 25 percent of unrestrained occupants. Ejection from a vehicle is one of the most injurious events that can happen to a person in a crash. Three-quarters of the occupants who are ejected from passenger cars are killed.
When you have been in a motor vehicle collision there are certain things that you need to do, and certain information that you need to know.
Once you have been in a motor vehicle collision you should:
- Assess injuries; if you or someone else is injured contact the police department immediately.
- If there is over $1000 damage to either vehicle, contact the police department.
- If nobody is injured, and the damage is not over $1000, you should get the other drivers information. This includes name, license number, insurance information, and registration information.
- After the accident you will need to pick up a crash report from the Police Department, or download the form by clicking HERE. After completing the report you will have to make three copies of the report, the copies need to be sent to the following places:
- The Registry of Motor Vehicles
- The Police Department where the accident occurred
- Your insurance Company
If you’ve been in an accident, download the Motor Vehicle Crash Operator Report from the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles.
How To Avoid Getting In A Motor Vehicle Collision
Speed is a major factor in many accidents. Driving too fast for the road conditions, weather, for the vehicle or for the driver increases your chances of being involved in a collision. Reduce speed during adverse weather conditions; rain, ice, sleet, snow and otherwise poor road surfaces can increase your stopping distance. Having worn tires or brakes decrease your ability to stop, and control your vehicle under emergency stopping and turning conditions. As a driver you also have to remember that there are many new drivers on the roadway, and varying degrees of experience will lead to varying degrees of driving ability.
Be familiar with the vehicle that you are operating. All vehicles have blind spots, you should know where they are on your vehicle, and always check them before changing lanes or turning. You cannot check these spots with mirrors, you may have to turn around and check these spots.
You should also know where the mechanical controls are located in your vehicle. This includes headlights, and windshield wipers. Knowing where they are located will decrease the need to divert your eyes from the roadway. You should also check that these mechanisms are in working order. A burnt out headlight bulb can seriously decrease your ability to see in the dark, and it will also decrease the ability for other vehicles to see you. Your windshield wipers should be kept new, and your washer fluid should be kept full. A clean windshield is key in good visibility.
Wear your seatbelt. This will not only save you if you are involved in a collision, it will also decrease your chances of getting in a collision. In a situation where you have to maneuver your vehicle your seatbelt will hold you in place, so you are still in control of your vehicle.
Stay away from other vehicles. Don’t tailgate other drivers, and don’t let them tailgate you. Following too closely is the leading cause of accidents. Don’t drive next to other vehicles, obstructions in the roadway can cause other vehicles to swerve, and they may swerve into you, also when you are next to other vehicles they may not be able to see you, you might be in their blind spot. This is especially true with tractor trailer trucks, the blind spots on these trucks is much larger and the drivers often have trouble seeing you, also the tires on tractor trailer trucks are re-tread, these are the large sections of tire tread that you see on the highway. Heat causes these treads to come off, they can hit your vehicle, get stuck under your vehicle, when this tread comes off it is loud and may cause you to stop abruptly or swerve.
This final step in avoiding Motor Vehicle Collisions is to know where they are likely to occur. Intersections are a place that many collisions occur, always check to make sure traffic is stopped before you start to go through a stop sign, or through a green light. Bends in the roadway are another places that collisions occur. Drivers may not realize how sharp a corner is or may be driving to fast, or the corner may come up faster than the driver expected and they could end up in your lane of travel.