Why wear seat belts if the car is equipped with airbags?

Seat belts and airbags are interrelated: an airbag without a seat belt can cause severe injury and even death. So, you have to use a seat belt to avoid serious injury. Moreover, according to seat belt legislation, wearing seat belts at all times is mandatory.

Why wear a seat belt?

One of the most common excuses people give for not wearing a seat belt is that the airbags in their car offer enough protection in an accident. However, they are wrong. Airbags are designed to work in conjunction with seat belts to reduce injuries and deaths. Next, we will explain how airbags work together with seat belts.

Seat belts and airbags are the first line of defense for protecting you in a car crash. Your seat belt restrains you, keeping you from flying forward into the dashboard or out of the car. If you have ever been in a crash, even a low-speed collision, you probably noticed your head snaps forward at impact though the seat belt kept your body in place.

Airbags help protect your head, neck, and chest when this happens in higher-speed crashes. If the airbag will cushion you, why do you still need to wear the seat belt?

  • To hold your body inside the car - the airbag will be no good to you if your body flies right past it. When a collision occurs, the car stops very quickly. If you are not wearing a seat belt, you may sustain an even worse injury. Seat belts will allow for a more gradual stop, keeping you restrained.
  • To keep your body in the car and in the right position for airbag cushioning - airbags were never intended to replace seat belts; they are supplemental restraints. Airbag design is made with the assumption that you are wearing a seat belt, so it will deploy to protect you while you are wearing it.
  • To distribute the energy created by the impact around your body to protect it from severe impact. - every car-maker strongly recommends wearing seat belts at all times, as they are the primary defense against injury during a crash. However, in very severe crashes, even occupants that wear a seat belt may come in contact with the car's interior.

What are Florida’s seat belt laws?

Florida law states that drivers and front-seat passengers have to wear seat belts. In addition to this, anyone under the age of 18 inside the vehicle also has to wear a seat belt.

The Florida seat belt law applies at all times to any car, pickup truck, and van operated on Florida roads. Drivers will be charged with a seat belt violation for any passenger in the front seat or anyone under the age of eighteen in the vehicle who is not wearing their seat belt.

Operating a vehicle where all the passengers do not meet these standards is against the law. Prevention is always better than last-minute correction.

  • Keep in mind that injured people are not properly restrained in more than 50% of all fatal car accidents. Children should always be seated in the back seat because it offers more protection in case of a car crash and avoids dangers associated with front-seat airbags.
  • Use your seat belt for any trip, not just long ones or on high-speed highways, as most crash deaths usually occur within 25 miles of home and at speeds of less than 40 mph. This emphasizes the fact that everyday driving from just one neighbor's house to another, to school, or just to the store can pose the greatest danger.
  • For a passenger traveling in the back seat at the time of their car crash, wearing a seat belt is 44% more effective at preventing death than riding unrestrained. In the case of passengers occupying the back seat of SUVs, rear seat belts are 73% efficient at preventing severe injuries or death in case of a car crash.

If you suffered injuries after being involved in a car accident, call our Miami-based office today. We understand how overwhelming it can be to deal with health issues and navigate the world of car accident claims. Please feel free to discuss your questions or concerns with our Miami, Florida, car accident lawyer at any time.

What are the most common unrestrained occupant injuries in car accidents?

It is not uncommon for us to see the following injuries as a result of a car accident with unrestrained drivers:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Face/neck injuries from impacting with a windshield/vehicle roof
  • Significant disfigurement
  • Chest and abdominal injuries from impacting the steering wheel
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Knee, hip fractures, and dislocations
  • Loss of or damage to a bodily organ
  • Dismemberment or amputation
  • Other injuries that inhibit a person’s daily activities

Each of these injuries can lead to lifelong disabilities and significant medical expenses. Contact Sean M. Cleary, personal injury lawyer at The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary, for more information.

Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided on this site is not formal legal advice, also the site does not allow you to form an attorney-client relationship.