For front-seat passengers, seat belts reduce the risk of serious injury by 50% and the risk of death by 45%.
The US Constitution provides American citizens with the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. “Liberty” means that people are supposed to be free to make decisions for themselves. So how is it that the decision not to wear your seat belt can lead to a ticket? Isn’t it your right to choose whether or not you want to wear your seat belt? What are the ramifications of not wearing a seat belt when you’re involved in a car accident?
The Legality Behind Seat Belt Laws
The reasoning behind the legality of wearing your seat belt is simply that in legal terms driving is a privilege, not a right. Since it isn’t a right, in order to drive you need to follow certain rules and regulations for the good of everyone on the road – and for yourself. If you have little ones in your car, then their safety is in your hands. If you don’t belt them in, then their rights are being violated by not having the proper safety measures in place since they can’t seat belt themselves.
Just like following a speed limit or stopping at a red light, the law states that in order to drive you have to comply with wearing a seat belt as a condition of your driving privilege. If you break the rule and do not buckle up, then it is like breaking any other driving law and you can be subject to a citation – which can come with a ticket for not using your seat belt when the car is in motion.
Seat Belts Save Lives
According to the CDC, for front-seat passengers, seat belts reduce the risk of death by 45% and the risk of serious injury by 50%.
So, the reason that seat belts are mandatory is that statistically speaking, they save millions of lives every year. What they also do is limit the injuries that someone sustains when they are in an accident. This means the argument in favor of them is that they save the public from having to pay for people who are permanently disabled due to car accident injuries. Also, they limit the amount of money that insurance companies have to pay out for serious injuries. If the insurance companies don’t have to pay exorbitant amounts, it saves everyone from high insurance premiums.
Since having the mandatory minimum liability insurance in California is required to drive, it is preferable that costs remain lower so that most people can afford to have insurance. Otherwise, there would be an entire segment of the population who couldn’t afford to pay their insurance premiums.
So although you are free to make choices as part of being an American citizen, the government is allowed to create policies to protect the public when the greater good is at stake. With clear evidence that seat belts lower a person’s risk for severe injury – especially for children – the states, including California, decided that wearing a seat belt should be legally required.
Contact Sacramento Car Accident Attorney
If you were involved in a car accident and the other driver or passengers were not wearing their seat belt, you may have many questions regarding your case. At The Law Offices of Zappettini and Bradley, our sole focus is on helping the victims of motor vehicle accidents receive full and fair compensation.
Call our 24-hour call center day or night, even on the weekends, at (916) 457-5022 or fill out our online case evaluation form.