Seatbelt safety is something that children learn the first moment they enter a vehicle. Most people over 40 years of age likely remember bouncing around, unbuckled, in the back seat of their parents car without a care in the world. According to statistics from Alberta Transportation seatbelt use is nearly at full compliance. In 2011 it was reported that 95% of driver were wearing their seatbelts. The injury rate of those who use seatbelts was 7.0% while those who didn’t wear seatbelts had an injury rate of 30%. Those who refuse to wear their seatbelts often claim that seatbelts are dangerous and there is the chance a person could become trapped in their vehicle unable to escape. While it is true that this can happen, the chances are far greater that, in the event of a collision, the unbuckled person will be thrown from the vehicle causing their injury or death. The unbuckled person has the distinct possibility of becoming the projectile in the vehicle causing serious, possibly mortal, destruction to the others in the vehicle.
The International Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) demonstrates the need for seatbelts in the event a collision occurs.
Of course, while a person is adjusting their seatbelt, it is important to ensure the head restraint is positioned properly. The middle of the head restraint should be level with the top of the person’s ears. As well, the seat should be back far enough so that in the event that the airbag deploys the person doesn’t receive the impact of the initial inflation. The airbag inflates with such extreme force that serious injuries could result.
The simple reality is that driving can be very dangerous. Every time we get into a vehicle we are taking on a certain amount of risk. There is a risk if we buckle up and a risk if we don’t. Based on the evidence though, the risk if we don’t buckle up is far greater than the risk if we do buckle up.