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Auto Accidents

In Case of Emergency: Use the Seatbelt

April 28, 2014 | Michael Barasch

During an accident, there is no opportunity for second thoughts. Occupant protection is critical, every time you travel. 

In the past year, the importance of occupant protection was highlighted when a Metro-North passenger train commuter train derailed. During the accident, four died and 59 were injured when passengers were tossed about as the cars left the track. 

For the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), occupant protection is a focal point for 2014. In addition to improving the structural integrity of vehicles to provide more survivable space during a crash, the agency is emphasizing restraints that reduce the likelihood of death and serious injury. 

The most common, important restraint in any vehicle is a seatbelt. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released findings about seatbelt use in the United States in 2012: 

  • Between 2011 and 2012, seatbelt use in the United States remained around 87 percent.
  • Seatbelt use by motorists in heavy traffic increased in 2012.
  • Use of seatbelts is higher in states with primary seatbelt laws. 

In New York, seatbelt use is compulsory. As a primary offense, law enforcement can stop a vehicle where seatbelt use is not observed. In New York in 2012, more than 8,000 people who died in vehicle accidents were not wearing seatbelts. Lives might have been saved if restraints had been used. 

Buckle up every time. You cannot stop others from negligent behavior, but you can try to keep yourself and loved ones from greater harm. It is too late once your vehicle is struck and the accident is in play. If you or a loved one is seriously injured in a car accident in New York, seek experienced legal advice.

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