Greater Seat Belt Use Needed in Rural AreasOctober 18, 2017
Seat belt use is one of the most effective ways to prevent serious injuries in the event of a car accident. Front and rear seat passengers should wear their seat belts at all times in order to avoid serious injuries. Unfortunately, not everyone follows this rule. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), residents in rural areas are less likely to wear seat belts. As a result, they are at greater risk of being fatally injured in a wreck compared to residents living in urban areas.
In a report titled, “Rural and Urban Differences in Passenger-Vehicle-Occupant Deaths and Seat Belt Use Among Adults,” the CDC compared seat belt use in rural regions of the United State to more urban areas. They found that the rural regions had higher age-adjusted passenger-vehicle-occupant fatality rates compared to rural areas. In addition, there was a higher proportion of fatalities from unrestrained occupants, and a lower seat belt use among adults.
While the total number of crashes tend to be higher in more populated areas, the number of fatal accidents is much higher in rural areas, the CDC reported. In fact, the rate of all traffic fatalities on rural roads is 2.6 times the rate of the total traffic fatalities in urban areas per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. Researchers studied regions across the country, including the South, Midwest, West, and Northeast and found that, within each region, the fatality rates per 100,000 populations increased as the areas became more rural, as well as the number of people who wore seat belts.
Seat Belts Save Lives
Between 2011 and 2015, seat belt use prevented approximately 64,000 fatalities in the United States. The number of people who report that they use seat belts reached over 85 percent in year 2014 alone. While these are encouraging figures, the small percentage of people who do not use their seat belt represent roughly half of all occupant fatalities in the United States. The clear majority of those fatalities occur in rural areas.
Most states have seat belt laws requiring vehicle occupants to wear their seatbelts. In states that have primary enforcement laws, a police officer can pull over a driver and issue a ticket if they are not wearing their seat belt. In states that have secondary enforcement laws, you may be pulled over for another offense, but then issued a ticket if the officer sees you are not wearing a seat belt. Maryland has primary enforcement seat belt laws.
Baltimore Car Wreck Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Injured Car Accident Victims
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, do not hesitate to contact the Baltimore car wreck lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton at your earliest convenience. Wearing a seatbelt is one of the simplest, and most effective steps you can take to protect yourself from injury. If you do become injured, we will work tirelessly to ensure that you receive the maximum financial compensation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent car accident victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.