Drivers/passengers often come up with wonderful excuses for not wearing seat belts. Here are some of them:
- It is uncomfortable.
- It irritates my skin.
- It wrinkles my clothes.
- It does not fit, I am too big.
A little discomfort or wrinkled clothes are somewhat minor issues in comparison to the potential injuries by road accident when seat belts are not worn. Modern seat belts can be adjusted for optimal comfort, and larger people will find seat belt extenders extremely helpful.
Seat belts and road traffic accidents
Other common excuses consist of:
- It makes me feel restrained.
- I can not look over my shoulder when buckled up.
- I fear getting stuck in the car after a traffic accident.
The purpose of seat belts is to protect drivers and passengers against potentially serious personal injuries by restraining them. Restraining the chest, not the head, they are unlikely to prevent drivers from looking over their shoulders. Being knocked unconscious and subsequently being unable to get out of vehicles after motoring accidents is far more likely than getting trapped by wearing seat belts.
Seat belts and the law
Some people claim they forgot to buckle up, while others believe they do not have to. The law clearly states that it is illegal to drive without all car occupants wearing seat belts, so there is no such thing as personal choice in this matter. The alarms in modern cars also make it quite impossible to forget buckling up.
The ‘safe driver’ excuse
Other drivers excuse their failure to wear seat belts by claiming that they:
- Are careful, safe drivers.
- Are only taking short trips or going slow.
- Do not need to buckle up because they have air bags.
- Can brace themselves.
These excuses can be answered by the following facts:
- Poor road and/or weather conditions; mechanical failures and other drivers can cause anyone to have vehicle accidents.
- 80 per cent of fatal traffic related injuries occur on short trips at speeds below 60 mph.
- It takes super-human reaction times for drivers and passengers to brace themselves in time. Even then, the forces of impact involved would shatter the body parts used for bracing.
If you suffered car crash injuries in spite of buckling up and through someone else’s fault, you may be eligible for accidental injury compensation. Contact Accident Advice Helpline for more information on how to claim on 0800 689 0500 or 0333 500 0993 from a mobile.