6 common excuses for not wearing a seatbelt
POLICE OFFICERS across Europe will this week be taking extra steps to issue penalties to motorists and their passengers not wearing seatbelts. Of course, officers are watching for those violations all the time, but this week, a special operation will do even more to target those people who do not follow the rules.
Seatbelt compliance rates for front seat occupants in the best performing European countries are well up at the 98% rate. Consider also that around 60% of the people who die in road traffic collisions come from the 2% of non-seatbelt wearers. So, what excuses are offered for non-wearing, and do they have any weight?
Excuse Number 1: It’s uncomfortable.
Surely not compared with months in hospital, following a serious injury that could have been prevented by a seatbelt. Most modern seatbelts have plenty of adjustable features to fit your body size and increase comfort. Many people find that after getting used to wearing a seatbelt, they actually feel “uncomfortable” or insecure without one.
Excuse Number 2: I have an airbag.
Air bags are designed to work with seatbelts, not as alternatives. An air bag increases the effectiveness of a belt by 40 percent. Used alone they’re only 12 percent effective. Also, unless your car is equipped with side airbags as well, you will be completely unprotected against side impact collisions without seatbelts.
Excuse Number 3: I’m only going to down the road.
“Since 80 percent of traffic fatalities occur within 40 miles of home and at under 60km/h, short trips near home are the best times to wear seatbelts.
Excuse Number 4: I’m a safe, careful driver.
Unfortunately, your driving ability is only one part of a complex equation, and wearing seatbelts is an integral part of being a safe driver. After all, you can control your behaviour, but you can’t control other risky driving factors like bad weather, car trouble, poor road conditions and other drivers.
Excuse Number 5: I’ll just brace myself.
To accomplish this, you would need so-far unachievable split-second reaction times. Also, if you could actually do it, the force of impact would shatter whatever body part you were bracing yourself with. A 50km/h crash has the impact of falling from three floors.
Excuse Number 6: A seatbelt will trap me in the car if I crash.
That’s where you want to be after a crash. If you are ejected from the car because you didn’t wear your your seatbelt, you’re 25 times more likely to die. But in the very rare instance that the crash causes you to be submerged in water or if your car in on fire, you’re more likely to be conscious enough to escape than if you didn’t have your belt on.
In conclusion, as 98+% of us already know, wearing a seatbelt could make the difference between life and death in a car crash.