The Belt That Saves Lives
“SAFETY-BELT use is one of the most effective means of reducing the number and severity of injuries in motor-vehicle crashes,” says the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). According to one study, the risk of dying in an automobile accident is reduced by 43 percent when passengers make proper use of safety belts. The risk of serious injury is reduced by about 50 percent.
Safety-belt-use legislation was first enacted by the Australian government in 1970. Now some 35 countries require safety-belt use. Violators are often subject to fines and in some cases even risk having their driving privileges suspended. Some governments have enacted laws that require passengers in all seating positions (both front and rear seats) to wear safety belts.
MMWR reports that “an estimated 300,000 persons die and 10-15 million persons are injured each year in traffic crashes throughout the world.” Those figures would have been greatly reduced had all those people been wearing seat belts.