Your Money, Your Life, or Your Safety Seat Belts A seat belt is one of those things in life that just doesn’t make sense to about 40,000,000 people in the United States. After all, freedom of choice is the Free World cornerstone and when it comes to our automobiles, we want to ride them any way we choose. “Liberty or death!” shouts a protestor on the nightly news. He values his God-given Freedoms to drive without fear of an illegal search and seizure. “The people,” he contends, “aren’t idiots and can govern their own safety.”
Courts determine whether driving without safety seat belts is a Right or a Privilege, but “by God we will defend our freedoms ’till our dying breath.” Unfortunately, that’s just what happens each year. What these people don’t realize is just what choice they are making when they drive without a seat belt wrapped around everyone in the car. Government and industry have sponsored multi-million dollar safety seat belt awareness campaigns for decades. Seat belt use has climbed, but only slowly through the years until recently. It’s easy to recognize at least one popular national seat belt slogan: a) Buckle Up For Safety
- b) Seat Belts Save Lives
- c) Buckle Up America Officer Friendly would appear in class to teach all about car safety. He didn’t come into every room, so some of us were indoctrinated with second hand playground news. State sponsored campaigns are less well known. Missouri had the lowest state seat belt usage as the year 2000 approached according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (per NHTSA).
- Only 60% of Missourians wore safety seat belts, so in a $300,000 concerted research effort, the State of Missouri studied advertising strategies that would appeal to all age groups. Radio stations received Public Service Announcements, 64 local newspapers printed press releases while two carefully selected slogans were printed on 26 billboards that read: “It takes 3 seconds to buckle up. Dead is Forever” “You think a zit is bad? Try a windshield.” Did the State of Missouri reach the target audience? Results:
Seat belt use among all age groups escalated to nearly 68%, about equal to the national average at the time. What was the real success?
- Hundreds of lives were saved yearly and serious injuries were avoided. “Click It…Or Ticket” kicked off in May of 2003 as the latest national seat belt campaign with a starting advertising budget of $25 million paid for by the US Government.
- That’s a lot of money to begin an advertising campaign about seat belt use. Was the purpose to really save lives, build up local treasuries, or just advertise? The results easily speak for themselves… Seat belt use in the United States rose to almost 80% in 2004(the highest single year increase) up from 58% in 1994. An additional 10% rise in safety seat belt use could save an estimated 8,000 more lives per year and prevent more than 100,000 traffic related accident injuries.
- It’s estimated that more than 14,000 lives had been saved with seat belt use in data compiled by the NHTSA for 2002. And of the almost 33,000 passenger vehicle occupants who were killed during the same period 59% weren’t wearing a safety seat belt. (per NHTSA). This isn’t a near 50:50 chance that you’ll be killed with or without a seat belt. Serious injuries far exceed deaths. There are almost 7,000,000 car accidents in the USA alone each year. Almost 3 million people are injured.
- The NHTSA estimates that had all vehicle occupants over the age of 4 been wearing seat belts 7153 more people would be alive. Just think about that for a moment. Did you know anyone who died in a car accident? Those are sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, friends, co-workers… a) Does it really sound that simple?
- b) Wear safety seat belts to significantly increase the chance of surviving car accidents. That’s simple, but it’s the message announced in various advertising campaigns over many different advertising methods during many, many years. All produced at an astronomical financial cost! People are creatures of reminded habits who participate when threatened with economic loss.
- That message has been heard, followed and saved lives, but it has been ignored to the deaths of many others. The Click It…Or Ticket safety seat belts campaign primarily advertised an aggressive ticketing effort by local police departments. The campaign doesn’t include shocking video footage showing ejected car accident victims.
- There aren’t many hard-hitting statistics such as: In 2002, 73 percent of passenger car occupants who were totally ejected from the vehicle were killed.
(per NHTSA) The primary cause of death for people aged 4 to 34 is car accidents. (per National Center for Health Statistics) In 2000 total economic cost of motor vehicle accidents in the US is equal to 2.3% of Gross Domestic Product or almost $820 per US resident. (per NHTSA) Yet the “shock & awe” techniques have been used over and over in previous education campaigns. The choice to wear safety seat belts without threat of economic loss is a luxury. The chances of receiving major injuries during a serious impact without a safety seat belt increase twenty-five times.
- There must be other reasons why a person would gamble life and money over the use of a seat belt. Surveys identify almost one hundred reasons why people choose not to wear seat belts. I’ll examine the most popular reasons people give for not wearing a seat belt in the next issue.
- Seat Belts Save Lives – Wear Your Seat Belts! It’s as simple as that . In this way, you wont have to deal with any claims or regulations due to an accident. Oakwood legal injury attorneys would always recommend to buckle up so when anything unfavorable happens, the law and regulations will be on your side and most of all, you will be safe.