Here’s another one you’ve heard from us before, but it appears worth repeating.
We’d like to believe people are displaying good sense and are following the law by buckling up when they drive. Some recent numbers we spotted in the Tuscaloosa (Ala.) News give us an uneasy feeling.
The University of Alabama’s Center for Advanced Public Safety analyzed the data from 2018 vehicle crashes in that state. It found that nearly half of the people who died in those crashes — 366 of 743 — weren’t wearing seat belts.
Check out these other numbers from the survey:
— The probability of dying in a vehicle accident is roughly 50 times higher when you aren’t buckled up. The odds of a fatality in a given accident are 1 in 1,000 for seat belt wearers, compared to 1 in 24 for those who don’t buckle up.
— A researcher at the Center for Advanced Public Safety said it’s “almost impossible” to be ejected from a vehicle if you’re wearing a seat belt. The odds of dying are 1 in 5 if you are ejected, and even if you survive the chances are strong that you’re going to get maimed.
— Drivers who drink (another no-no) or drive fast and aggressively (ditto) are significantly more likely to drive unrestrained.
— Also, more drivers on rural roads — where the risk of serious crashes is higher because of adjacent wooded areas — fail to buckle up.
This level of non-compliance is unacceptable — and we have no illusions that law enforcement is going to compel full compliance anytime soon.
Still, it’s worth another try, though, because we sort of like to keep people alive and in one piece.
The advantages of wearing seat belts are indisputable. The negatives are non-existent.
Seat belts save lives, period.