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8 Myths About Driving Without a Seatbelt, Debunked

A cropped shot of a young woman putting on her seatbelt in her vehicle.

Preventing Teen Driving Accidents in Florida

Now that summer is approaching, we’re entering into what the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) calls, “The 100 Most Deadly Days For Teen Drivers.” This is the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day when teen driving accidents increase dramatically.

From 2019 to 2020 alone, over 7,000 people died in the U.S. due to teen-related car crashes over the summer. In addition to reckless driving, distracted driving, and lack of driving experience, not wearing a seatbelt is one of the primary reasons why teen drivers get injured in motor vehicle accidents.

It’s normal to feel concerned about these alarming statistics. For many of us, it is hard to comprehend the fact that an alarming number of young people still choose not to fasten their seatbelts when driving. Still, it’s worth noting that the more awareness and education we share, the more we can help prevent teenage drivers from dying or sustaining serious injuries in car crashes.

Keep reading to learn more about the importance of wearing a seatbelt when operating a motor vehicle in Florida.

The Importance of Buckling Up on Florida Roads

In this age, driving is more dangerous than ever due to an ever-increasing number of dangers on Florida roads, such as:

  • Speeding
  • Reckless driving
  • Distracted driving
  • Aggressive driving
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol

In light of this, it’s more important than ever for drivers to buckle up before deciding to operate a vehicle. Even seemingly quick or easy trips can yield dangerous and even fatal repercussions for drivers who choose to operate a motor vehicle without wearing a seatbelt.

8 Myths About Driving Without a Seatbelt, Debunked

Why do people choose to drive without wearing a seatbelt? For teenage drivers, the answer can vary. Here are some of the top reasons why young drivers choose to operate vehicles without buckling up first: Here are some of the top reasons why young drivers aren’t buckling up when they get behind the wheel:

1. They assume that airbags are sufficient to keep them safe in the event of a collision.

Some teenage drivers wrongfully assume that the airbags can provide sufficient protection against injury or death in the event of a motor vehicle collision. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth, partly because airbags only deploy if the impact affects certain parts of the vehicle. In the case of a severe impact, the driver may even get ejected from the vehicle or fly through the windshield due to the force of the crash.

For example, front airbags generally do not deploy if you’re rear-ended by someone in a car accident. This means that if an unbuckled driver gets hit from behind, there’s nothing to stop their heads and bodies from colliding with the steering wheel, dashboard, or windshield of the car, potentially leading to serious injuries or death.

2. They find seatbelts uncomfortable or cumbersome.

Many people don’t even notice the seatbelt when driving. This often occurs because using one isn't an ingrained habit in their everyday routines, leading them to forget about the seatbelt altogether. While it can be difficult to forge new habits, getting in the habit of wearing a seatbelt every time you get behind the wheel might just save your life one day.

It should be second nature to reach behind you and fasten your seatbelt every time you start the car. Seatbelts shouldn’t be uncomfortable. If the seatbelt isn’t comfortable for the driver or passengers, there are typically adjustments that can be made to the car, such as height, seat angle, or positioning to create a better fit.

Ideally, the seatbelt should rest on the chest with the lap belt around the hips. Sitting up straight will also allow the seatbelt to evenly distribute the pressure of the seatbelt correctly across the body. You can also purchase padded seatbelt covers to improve the comfort of wearing a seatbelt.

3. They forget to put on their seatbelt.

Forgetting to put on your seatbelt is a harder excuse to give now, as most vehicles built within the last few decades have alarms to remind drivers to put on their seatbelts. A lot of these alarms get increasingly louder the longer that the car is being driven without the seatbelt fastened.

4. They are only going “around the corner” or a short distance.

The vast majority of car accidents occur within a 5-mile radius of the driver’s residence. Logically, the distance that you are going should not be a factor when determining whether putting on a seatbelt is “worth it” or not. Remember, not wearing a seatbelt can cost you more than traffic ticket fines—it can also cost you your life, not to mention the lives of other passengers in the vehicle.

5. They drive carefully, so they don’t need a seatbelt.

No one plans on being in an automobile accident. It doesn’t matter how carefully you drive; you simply cannot control the other drivers on the road. Thousands of accidents occur every day across the United States. Even the best drivers in the world aren’t immune to being struck by other careless or inattentive drivers on Florida roads, making it all the more crucial to buckle up every single time you operate a motor vehicle. After all, good and bad drivers alike must share the road, and it’s wise to take safety precautions whenever possible.

6. They drive slowly, so if they get into an accident, they won’t get hurt.

It’s been statistically proven that approximately 70% of all accidents happen when a vehicle is traveling at speeds under 40 miles per hour. Also, the speed that you are driving doesn’t matter if you are hit by another car that is driving fast or recklessly.

7. They think wearing a seatbelt causes worse injuries in an accident.

It’s technically correct that people can sustain injuries from the seatbelt in an accident. However, the injuries—such as bruising, sprains, and muscle strains caused by a seatbelt—pale in comparison to sustaining fatal, disfiguring, or life-threatening injuries from not wearing a seatbelt.

Another argument is that seatbelts will cause a person to get trapped in a vehicle after an accident. The fact is that is it much more likely that the damage inflicted to the vehicle itself will trap a person in a car following an accident.

8. Teens are unaware of the true dangers of not wearing a seatbelt, choose not to wear one because their friends don’t wear one, or simply “want their freedom.”

No matter what excuse young drivers try to use to explain their decision to not wear a seatbelt, no excuse can justify the substantial risk that they take of death or serious bodily injury if they’re unsecured during a motor vehicle accident or collision.

If a teenager is permitted to drive a car, they should take great care to wear a seatbelt at all times, regardless of the destination, driving time, or behaviors modeled by their friends. Wearing a seatbelt while driving is non-negotiable if you wish to avoid life-altering injuries or fatalities for yourself and your loved ones. After all, there is nothing that you can do to protect yourself when driving a car that is as easy and quick as buckling your seatbelt.

Over 30 Years Representing the Injured in Bonita Springs

At the Pittman Law Firm, P.L., our accomplished personal injury lawyers have extensive experience representing Florida clients in a wide range of lawsuits, from premises liability claims to medical malpractice. Our firm understands firsthand the devastating impact that an unexpected illness or injury can have on your life, not to mention the lives of your loved ones. That’s why our compassionate legal team is committed to providing the customized legal solutions you deserve to obtain a favorable outcome in court.

It’s imperative to seek immediate representation after a motor vehicle accident to earn maximum compensation for pain and suffering. Call (239) 603-6913 to schedule a free consultation with a trusted lawyer in Bonita Springs.