As a Dallas-Fort Worth personal injury and wrongful death lawyer, I know that car crashes can result in a range of extremely serious injuries to both the driver and their passengers. Common auto accident injuries include broken bones, soft tissue damage, spinal injuries, blunt force trauma, traumatic brain injury, paralysis, and even death.
No matter how safe a driver you consider yourself to be, no one is immune to injury collision caused by another dangerous motorist such as a drunk driver or a negligent semi-trucker.
In 2012, seat belts saved an estimated 12,174 Texas residents from dying. Sadly, 3,031 additional lives could have been saved had they also been wearing a seat belt.
Why Don’t People Wear Seat Belts?
Despite the fact that seat belts are still considered the most significant safety device in modern vehicles, many people choose not to wear them. Why?
- “Seat belts are uncomfortable.”
- “The seat belt digs into my neck and hips.”
- “I heard it’s safer to be thrown from a car in a wreck.”
- “Air bags are just as dangerous as not wearing a seat belt.”
- “Seat belts aren’t cool.”
- “I’m only heading up the road – I don’t need a seat belt.”
- “I forgot to put my seat belt on.”
- “If I crash, I don’t want to get caught in a car fire or stuck under water.”
As a board certified auto injury attorney I can assure you that none of these excuses are legitimate. To comment on that last point, bear in mind that crashes resulting in a fire or submersion under water occur in fewer than 0.5 percent of cases, and in those situations it’s far easier to get out of the vehicle if you were buckled in and not unconscious.
You should always wear a seat belt, even if you are only driving for a short distance. Seventy-five percent of car wreck fatalities occur within 25 miles of the motorist’s home, and at speeds of less that 40 miles per hour.
Click It or Ticket – Texas Seat Belt Law
Texas law requires all drivers and passengers to wear a seat belt at all times. Regardless of whether you’re a child or an adult, in the front seat or the back seat, state law requires you to wear a seat belt. Failure to do so can result in fines of up to $200. Additionally, if you’re caught without a seat belt, you may be required to complete a six hour TEA approved seat belt class.
Seat belt use is an important issue in Texas, since roughly 23 percent of all vehicles are pickup trucks, and many more are SUVs. These larger passenger vehicles are significantly more prone to rollover if they are involved in a collision. Occupants wearing a seat belt are 74 percent more likely to survive a rollover crash that those who don’t.
Making a Car Accident Claim If You Weren’t Wearing a Seat Belt
If you weren’t wearing a seat belt at the time of your accident, can you still make a claim against the at-fault driver? Yes.
Determining Fault for Your DFW Car Wreck
If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Texas car accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact a Dallas-Fort Worth personal injury lawyer today to learn about your legal rights.