A seat belt is the difference between safety and injury or even life and death in an accident. This was true for two people who suffered injuries in a violent crash in Lexington in early February 2013. According to police, an officer was right behind a van turning left into Versailles Road from Village Drive after midnight. The report also stated that as the van made the turn, an SUV ran the red light and crashed into it. It was found out that the driver of the van was not wearing a seat belt. The impact threw her out the driver’s side door. The Kentucky Emergency Medical Services (EMS) took the driver, along with a passenger from the van, to the hospital for treatment. The driver of the SUV was not injured.
According to the Kentucky State Police, there were 721 deaths on Kentucky roadways in 2011 and 50% of those people were not wearing a seat belt. Research has revealed that when seat belts are worn properly, they reduce the risk of a fatal injury to front-seat passengers by 45% and the risk of moderate to critical injury by 50%. Here are some other statistics about failing to wear a seat belt while driving:
- Preliminary statistics released by the Kentucky State Police (KSP) indicated that 11 people died in nine separate crashes on Kentucky roads from April 1 through April 7, 2013. Of the 11 fatalities, three were not wearing seat belts.
- In 2013, preliminary statistics showed that 137 people lost their lives on Kentucky roads. Of the 137 fatalities, 59 victims were not wearing seat belts.
- In 2011, Kentucky had a total of 721 highway fatalities with 576 killed in motor vehicles. Of those killed in an accident, 58% were not wearing a seat belt.
Kentucky seat belt law
Seat belts can save your life. They prevent you from being ejected out of the car and help keep you in place. Properly wearing a seat belt is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself and reduce fatalities in car accidents. This is because seat belts, when properly worn, can distribute forces of rapid deceleration over larger parts of the body including the shoulders, chest and hips.
Kentucky’s seat belt law states:
A person shall not operate a motor vehicle manufactured after 1981 on the public roadways of this state unless the driver and all passengers are wearing a properly adjusted and fastened seat belt.
Kentucky Revised Statute 189.125 clearly states that the driver and all passengers in a moving vehicle must wear seat belts. There are exceptions. These exceptions include: drivers or passengers with disabilities, children who are properly restrained in child safety seats and USPS letter carriers on duty. If the police see anyone not wearing a seat belt, they will pull you over.
Kentucky seat belt bill
Also, a senate bill was signed in 2012 by Governor Steve Beshear, along with state officials and highway safety advocates. This bill expanded the state’s seat belt law to include vehicles designed to carry 15 or fewer passengers. The previous seat belt law only required a seat belt to be worn in vehicles that carry up to 10 people.
It's scary how many people do not wear a seat belt. It may be uncomfortable to wear, or you may think it's not cool to wear a seat belt. The truth is, if you're in an accident, you will receive more damage when you aren't wearing your seat belt. That's if you're lucky. If you aren't wearing a seat belt, you could be ejected from your vehicle and land on a busy road. The simple truth is you are putting your life and your passenger's lives at risk when you don't wear your seat belt. So, drive your car, protect yourself and your passengers and always properly wear your seat belt. It could just save your life.