No, it is not safer to not wear the seat belt because seat belts can prevent injury during impact, and thus increase your chances of remaining conscious and being able to escape your vehicle in case of danger. Seat belts are still the best way to ensure you are not severely hurt in case of an accident.
Seat belts are vital in preventing people from being ejected from the vehicle in a crash. They also prevent people from being thrown against other passengers, the steering wheel, or the windshield. But that doesn't always stop the drivers and passengers who find them uncomfortable to claim - crediting murky statistics or hearsay - that wearing a seat belt is often more dangerous in an accident than not wearing one. For example, what if your car goes underwater and your seat belt keeps you from getting to safety?
Well, we know that water submersion or fire following a crash is extremely rare. When they do occur, the greatest danger is the actual impact that precedes the fire or the sinking accident.
Seat belts prevent injury during impact and can keep you from winding up unconscious from the impact so that you can escape your vehicle. The much likelier cause of car fatalities is the force of impact or ejection from the vehicle, and those are the injuries that seat belts are so good at preventing. Getting ejected from a car in an accident drops your chances of surviving by three-quarters.
When the seat belt is correctly worn, it may cause superficial bruises but it will seldom cause severe injuries. Studies have consistently shown that these are generally much less severe than would have been the case without a belt. According to the NHTSA, during the latest year of available data, almost 50.4% of people killed in automobile accidents in Florida were not wearing a seat belt.
Wearing your seat belt is required by the Florida safety belt law that applies to any car, pickup truck, and van operated on Florida roads and manufactured after 1968, and states the following:
If they are improperly designed or defective, seat belts can cause injury and may even cost lives. A defective seat belt can allow you to be ejected from a vehicle during an accident or hit a windshield, causing catastrophic injuries such as spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injury (TBI) that last a lifetime.
When seat belts fail, injuries occur. Seat belt defects include:
Yet, clearly seat belts save lives. Overall, you are much safer wearing a seat belt than not wearing one, even considering that seat belts can fail. Time and time again, we see the consequences of people in the same type of accident. Those who chose to wear the seat belt walk away with minor injuries while victims not wearing a seat belt suffer a traumatic injury.
Following an accident that involves questions about a seat belt, you are well-advised to consult with a Miami auto product liability attorney. The negligent parties, such as the at-fault driver, could be held responsible for your medical costs and rehabilitation, property damage, loss of income, and pain and suffering. A dealership could be held responsible if the seat belt that failed was repaired by them.
Mounting a proper seat belt defense with an insurance company can be complex, but The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary has handled these types of cases in the past and we know how to investigate then proceed. Please contact our Miami product liability injury lawyer today.