North Carolina Traffic Safety: Teen Fatalities and Seat Belt Usage

For decades, safety advocates, automobile manufacturers, legislators and law enforcement agencies have reminded drivers and passengers to “buckle up.” The benefits of wearing a seat belt are widely known to reduce the severity of injury and to prevent fatalities in the event of an accident. Despite these warnings, injuries and deaths resulting from failure to wear a seat belt continue. Recent studies have shown that teenagers are increasingly victims in accidents because of their failure to wear seat belts.


Seat belts are one way to increase the chance of survival in an accident. Our Charlotte car accident attorneys are experienced in representing victims of accidents and injury. We understand the gravity of accidents and the lifelong impact of a serious injury. In addition to helping victims we are also focused on raising awareness to prevent future injury and fatalities.

While getting behind the wheel is exciting for the first time it can also be dangerous for new drivers. In addition to their new found freedom and the joys of the open road, teenagers are also distracted by handheld devices, music, and friends. This can make inexperienced drivers susceptible to serious accidents and injuries. Many teenage driver are also inexperienced with defensive driving and are more likely to be involved in accidents.

Due to the high risk of teenage drivers, seat belts are even more important. As a recent report revealed, four deaths involving teens in one community reflected a trend that more teens are going without seat belts. This means that teenagers are not only more likely to be involved in an accident, but they also are more comfortable with the idea of not wearing a seat belt.

Law enforcement agencies and safety experts are urging teenagers to remember the dangers of driving without a seat belt. In one recent case, a 19-year-old was killed in a single-car accident after he was ejected from the vehicle. Police reports indicated that the teen lost control when going around a curve and ran off the road, flipping his vehicle and crashing into a utility pole. Reports also indicated that the teen was speeding at the time of the wreck.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, using a seat belt reduces the risk of fatal injury for occupants by 45 percent. When riding in a truck, SUV or minivan, a seat belt reduces the risk of fatality by 60 percent. The Highway Patrol has found that the trend toward declining seat belt use has been a priority this year. State troopers are issuing additional seat belt citations and making efforts to reduce the number of fatalities on the road.

Statistics indicate that North Carolina seat belt compliance was 89.5 in 2011. In 2012 that percentage was down two points at 87.5. While law enforcement officers and agencies are not able to pinpoint the exact reason for the decline in seat belt usage, many believe it is because there are younger drivers who are forgetting the importance of wearing a seat belt.

Every year, one-third of teenagers aged 16-10 who die in car accidents were not wearing their seat belt. This statistic also suggests the number of fatalities that could be prevented. If you are the parent of a teen driver, remember to advise your children to buckle up. It could make the difference between life and death, especially for teens who are already facing higher risks when on the road.

If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident, contact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices today by calling 800-887-1965.

More Blog Entries:
Bicyclist Struck and Killed in Carolina Forest Accident, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, June 18, 2013

Elderly at High Risk of North Carolina Pedestrian Accidents, Charlotte Car Accident Lawyer Blog, April 29, 2013

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