There is significant evidence to support the claim that proper use of a seat belt can save lives and reduce the risk of serious injury in a car crash. New Mexico has required seatbelt use of some kind since 1986, and the law was extended to require all passengers be belted as of 2001. However, according to the most recent Annual Traffic Crash Report, which examined the accident data from 2011, only 84% of New Mexicans involved in an automobile accident reported using a seatbelt at the time of the crash. The Szantho Law Firm examined the report and found that safety belt usage was as critical as ever in saving lives and preventing injury.
“Both nationally and according to historical data from New Mexico, it is evident that proper seatbelt usage correlates to fewer fatalities and reduced risk of injury,” says Andras Szantho, founder of the Szantho Law Firm. “Yet, despite both this information as well as mandatory seatbelt laws, there are still New Mexicans who do not properly use safety restraints.”
Seatbelt usage in NM was recorded at only around 58% in 1989, yet had risen to as high as 92% in 2007. Over the same period of time major injuries declined at rates comparable to the increasing use of safety restraints.
In 2011 the observed rate of seatbelt usage had declined to 90% and the recorded rate of usage after an accident had fallen to 84.4%. While still a positive indicator that the public is generally aware of the protections afforded by restraint use, it does reflect some easing of safety concerns by drivers and passengers. However, data indicates that seatbelts are as important as ever with large disparities between belted and unbelted occupants in terms of fatalities and injuries. Belted passengers suffered no injuries in an accident 82.2% of the time, compared to 39.8% of unbelted occupants. Additionally, only 0.1% of belted occupants were killed, while that number rises dramatically to 8.9% for unbelted persons.
“Despite trends showing an overall reduction in crashes and increasing safety enhancements in automobiles, seatbelts are as important today as ever,” concludes Szantho. “The facts still show that they save lives and reduce injuries.”
The Szantho Law Firm has offices in both Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico. They handle a variety of personal injury cases, including: bicycle accidents, automobile accidents, slip-and-fall, traumatic brain injury, medical malpractice and more. They can be reached for a free consultation at http://CarAccidentLawyerAlbuquerque.com/ or at (505)-660-1141.
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Name: Andras Szantho
Organization: The Szantho Law Firm
Address: 10749 Prospect Avenue Northeast Suite F, Albuquerque, NM 87112