If you are improperly buckled during a crash, you risk becoming a projectile and injuring or killing others in the vehicle. Even when you’re alone in the vehicle, if you aren’t properly buckled, an unpredictable situation can cause you to swerve or brake suddenly, forcing you from the driver’s seat which is likely to cause a crash. You might argue that seat belt use is a personal decision, but that argument just doesn’t hold up; it affects us all.
#1 most effective
Seat belts are the single most effective traffic safety device for preventing death and injury in a crash. On top of that, you’re probably breaking the law by not wearing one.
KNOW THE LAW
WHAT YOU CAN DO
In a crash, unbuckled passengers can become a projectile and increase the risk of hurting or killing others in the car by 40 percent.
People not wearing a seat belt are 30 times more likely to be ejected from a vehicle during a crash.
In 2018, it’s likely 208 of the 319 people who were killed in crashes might have survived if they had been wearing seat belts.
Three out of four people who are ejected during a crash die from their injuries.
Improper seat belt use can be life altering
Believe it or not, there are right and wrong ways to wear a seat belt. By wearing a seat belt properly, it will better absorb fatal forces of a crash and be less likely to cause harm to vital internal organs. Be aware of the proper way to wear a seat belt.
Child Safety seats
A recent National Highway Transportation Safety Administration survey revealed that 20 percent of all drivers of child passengers did not read any instructions on how to properly install their child restraints, yet 90 percent felt “confident” or “very confident” that their car seats and booster seats were installed correctly.
Common errors include:
Loose car seat installation. The restraint system moved more than two inches side-to-side or front to back; anything more than one inch is too much.
Wrong harness slot used. The harness straps used to hold the child in the car seat were positioned either too low or too high.
Loose harness. More than two inches of total slack between the child and the harness strap; there should be no slack.
Wrong chest clip position. Harness chest clip positioned over the abdomen rather than the chest or not used at all.
Wrong seat belt placement. Lap belt resting over the stomach and/or shoulder belt on the child’s neck or face.
In addition, be sure to:
Use the proper size safety seat for the child’s weight and height.
Never place a safety seat in the front seat of a car regardless of the type of safety seat used.
Never use a safety seat that has been involved in a crash or has an expired manufactures date regardless of its condition. The life of a safety seat is about six years.
Avoid secondhand safety seats, especially if they do not include the instructions manual, the manufacturer’s date or model number.
Send in the safety seat registration card to stay informed about product recalls.
Visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to learn more.
It's the law, not a suggestion
The driver and front-seat occupants must be properly restrained any time the vehicle is in motion.
A child under 18 years old must to be secured in a seat belt regardless of their placement in the vehicle.
A child less than six years old must be secured in a safety seat or booster seat — adhering to manufacturer’s instructions.
A child under one year old who weighs less than 20 pounds must be secured in a rear-facing child restraint system — adhering to manufacturer’s instructions.
Citations will be given if drivers or passengers fail to meet any of the requirements listed above. Each passenger 14 years or older, unless unable to properly fasten the seat belt due to a disability, will be individually cited for a seat belt violation.
In Iowa, seat belt laws are a primary offense, meaning a law enforcement officer may stop a vehicle solely on the violation of failure to wear a safety belt or be in a safety restraint system.
Safety belt and safety restraint violations carry a minimum fine of $127.50. While a child restraint device violations carry a minimum fine of $195.
What you can do
Buckle up every time
Wear a seat belt every trip, whether it's day or night, near or far and regardless of your spot in the vehicle.
Wear your belt correctly
Wear the seat belt properly to better absorb fatal forces of a crash.