In April, a 17-year-old Texas student was killed in a rollover accident on 183-A tollway in Cedar Park. The SUV she was driving collided with a barrier and rolled over. She was thrown from the vehicle and passed away at the scene. Her passenger was seriously injured in the incident and taken to a local hospital. It has been reported that neither the driver nor her passenger were wearing seat belts at the time of the crash. The incident is a tragic reminder of the importance of safety belts within vehicles and ensuring teens wear them.
Seat Belt Facts
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than half of teenagers and adults who died in crashes in 2014 were unrestrained at the time of the accidents. That equates to more than 10,000 fatalities that could have been avoided with the proper use of a seat belt. That same year, seat belts were credited with saving 12,802 lives.
In addition to saving your life, there are other reasons to buckle up. Seat belts prevent being thrown from a vehicle and colliding with the windshield, steering wheel, or seat, which can cause significant injuries like facial fractures and traumatic brain injuries. Airbags are also safer and more effective when you wear a seat belt. By wearing the harness, your body is more likely to stay in the ideal position for the airbag to protect you.
Texas Seat Belt Law
Under Texas law, it is illegal for anyone to ride in the front seat of a vehicle that has a seat belt without buckling up. It is also illegal for anyone under the age of 17 to ride in any seat within a vehicle that has seat belts without wearing the safety belt. Technically, adults riding in the back of a vehicle can decide for themselves whether or not they want to buckle in, but children and teens should always wear their seat belts when the vehicle is running.
Texas law enforcement will fine individuals caught not wearing their seat belts. Individuals over the age of 17 will receive a lower fine than teenagers or children not wearing their safety belts. You can also be ordered to complete a vehicle safety course.
Recovering Compensation after an Accident
If you were in a vehicle accident caused by another driver and you were not wearing your seat belt, this fact could be used against you during your attempt to recover compensation. While it may be possible to prove the other driver caused the crash because of his or her negligence, it may be difficult to place all of the blame on that other person for all of your injuries. The other driver’s insurance company may claim you would not have been hurt as badly or injured at all if you were buckled up as is required by law. If you are up against this battle, contact our experienced New Braunfels personal injury attorneys at The Bettersworth Law Firm right away.