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Seat belt laws and seat belt use

Seat belt use has risen dramatically since the safety feature was first invented. When seat belts became mandatory equipment, drivers and passengers gained access to one of the most important tools against car accident fatalities. Today, a large majority of people in cars wear their seat belts. But until the usage rate hits 100 percent, there is still work to be done.

Across the nation, 85.9 percent of people wear their seat belts regularly. Women are more likely to wear them than men. Teenagers are less likely to wear them than older drivers. The federal government wants to improve the overall usage rate, setting a goal of 92 percent for drivers and passengers by 2020.

The reason the government is looking to improve seat belt use is that they are effective. Despite the fact that only 14 percent of Americans do not use their seat belts regularly, around 50 percent of the people who die in car accidents are unbelted. Wearing a seat belt cuts the death rate dramatically when it comes to crashes.

There are significant regional differences in seat belt use. In Washington, Oregon and California, many counties have already met the 92 percent benchmark. In Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota, many counties report seat belt use under 50 percent. Most Missouri counties report seat belt use between 60 and 80 percent.

There is no good reason to avoid wearing your seat belt. Even if you are an excellent driver, that won't help you when a drunk driver veers into your lane and hits you. That accident won't be your fault, but the damage will already be done. Seat belts save lives. They are also required under Missouri law. Do yourself and everyone else a favor and buckle up.

Source: The Washington Post, "Here's how good (or awful) your hometown drivers are at wearing a seat belt,” by Christopher Ingraham, 4 April 2017

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Ben Schmitt

Attorney Ben Schmitt

Mr. Schmitt has over 25 years of legal experience in Missouri and Kansas, and he has been first chair in over 100 jury trials in state and federal courts. He is recognized by the Kansas City Business Journal, Super Lawyers, Avvo.com and Martindale Hubbell as one of the best personal injury lawyers in Missouri and Kansas.

Matt Mulhern

Attorney Matt Mulhern

Mr. Mulhern has over 25 years of legal experience and a 100 percent success rate arguing before the Missouri Court of Appeals. He has a unique knowledge of the inner workings of insurance companies and how they will dispute your injury claim. He practices in both Missouri and Kansas.