After spending what was likely an enjoyable and fun day at a local amusement park, a group of Michigan teens were injured on their way home as a result of a rollover accident near Toledo on Interstate 75. Two of the 10 teens were seriously injured as a result of being thrown from the van during the accident, and the remaining eight were treated at the hospital. The cause of the accident is somewhat difficult to understand, as police indicated that it occurred as a result of the driver’s attempt to switch seats with one of her passengers – yet the police also indicated that the driver was wearing a seat belt when the crash occurred.
The Importance Of All Vehicle Occupants’ Seat Belt Usage
While wearing a seat belt will not help prevent accidents due to questionable behavior while driving, they can help to prevent you from being injured, or minimize the severity of the injuries received, during an accident. The reports of this Toledo accident do not indicate whether anyone involved, besides the driver, was wearing a seat belt, it is likely that the two victims thrown from the vehicle during the accident may not have been wearing a seat belt, as this will often help prevent passengers from being thrown during an accident. Though Ohio law only requires those in the front seat to wear seat belts, no matter where you are seated in a vehicle a seat belt should be worn for safety reasons alone. Additional requirements apply to any child under the age of 16 years old; the youngest children must be restrained in a car seat, older children must wear a seat belt, and those in between are required to use a booster seat/seat belt combination.
Seat Belt Crackdowns Aim to Change the Trend
Despite the fact that most people know that the law requires them to wear a seat belt, many people do not obey the laws, or in the absence of a law requiring it, to even exercise caution on their own behalf when it comes to this simple safety measure. Interestingly, fewer people who drive at night obey the seat belt laws than those who drive during the day. Studies show that 60 percent of all people killed in car crashes – a total of nearly 2,300 out of 3,800 people – over the last five years in Ohio were not wearing seat belts; we will never know for certain how many of those lives could have been saved if usage was at 100 percent. Without a doubt, far more than those 2,300 lives were affected by those deaths. The Ohio State Patrol is making a concentrated effort to increase awareness and enforcement of these laws to turn these numbers around in an attempt to decrease accident fatalities and injuries. According to reports, one-sixth of all tickets written since 2010 were for seat belt violations.
Low Fines and Weak Laws Work Against the Effort to Increase Seat Belt Usage
There are those who think that simply getting a ticket is not enough of a deterrent and argue that the fines are too low and the laws are too weak as they currently stand. In Ohio, the driver cited for not wearing a seat belt must pay $30, and a passenger must pay $20. These fines are in addition to court costs, but the fines do seem fairly low. In some states the fines for failure to buckle up exceed $100, which is much harder to part with than the $20 or $30 required in Ohio. In addition, the seat belt laws in Ohio are secondary; law enforcement officials are not able to cite drivers or passengers for not wearing a seat belt unless they are stopped for something else, such as speeding or some other traffic offense, first. Many states have primary seat belt laws and statistics show that states that have higher fines for seat belt violations along with primary seat laws have a higher percentage of seat belt usage. Stronger seat belt laws, including measures to make the seat belt laws primary – which would allow police officers to pull over and cite unbelted drivers without additional reason – may prove to be more of a deterrent than the existing Ohio laws.
No Good Reason to Not Wear a Seat Belt
People who refuse to wear a seat belt provide all sorts of excuses and reasons for why they choose to continue their unsafe habits. Some of them claim that it is for comfort reasons – that they simply are not comfortable wearing a seat belt – and some claim that wearing a seat belt is inconvenient. Some even refuse to do so because they simply do not believe that the government has the right to tell them they must wear a seat belt. None of these reasons are good enough when compared with the simple fact that wearing a seat belt not only increases your safety level when in a vehicle but also decrease the chances you will be seriously hurt if an accident occurs.
Contact the Ohio Car Accident Lawyers When You Have Been Injured in an Auto Accident
If you or your loved one have been involved in an accident and have suffered injuries as a result, the Ohio Car Accident Lawyers Co.LPA is ready to help you recover for your losses and get the results you deserve. Choosing the right legal representative is the first thing you need to do when starting to pursue what is rightfully yours. Whether you have medical bills, lost wages, or other types of losses, our attorneys have the experience to ensure that your case is handled competently and with the attention it deserves. We will help you to understand your rights and responsibilities and will work hard for you through the course of your case, from start to finish. Do not delay, contact the skilled Ohio auto accident lawyers at the Ohio Car Accident Lawyers today to schedule your initial consultation at no cost or obligation to you.