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Half of Fatal Accident Victims in January Weren’t Wearing a Seat Belt

seat belt South Carolina car accident

Nobody expects to be involved in a collision when they are out driving. But a car accident can happen at any time on I-20, U.S. 1, a county road or a neighborhood street. Negligent drivers cause crashes that leave people with serious injuries. And sometimes those injuries are fatal.

A major factor in the number of fatal injuries each year is that many victims were not wearing seat belts. In the first month of 2022, there were 57 traffic fatalities in South Carolina, according to the state Department of Public Safety. Twenty-eight of those victims – roughly half - were not wearing seat belts.

Campaign urges everyone to buckle up

South Carolina has had a primary seat belt law since 2005. All occupants of a motor vehicle are required to be buckled up. Law enforcement officers are authorized to pull a vehicle over and issue a citation if they have a clear and unobstructed view of a driver or occupant not wearing a seat belt.

But not everyone follows the seat belt law. That’s why the state holds an annual “Buckle Up, South Carolina” campaign to raise awareness and step up enforcement. Last year’s special enforcement campaign ran from May 24 to June 6.

“We know seat belts save lives, and that is why our troopers will be placing an emphasis on safety belt and child restraint violations in an effort to keep motorists safe on our highways this summer,” said South Carolina Highway Patrol Col. Chris Williamson at the time.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has found that:

  • Among the 22,215 passenger vehicle fatalities nationwide in 2019, 47% were not wearing seat belts.
  • In 2017, seat belt use saved an estimated 14,955 lives.
  • An additional 2,549 lives could have been saved in 2017 if more people had used seat belts.

The NHTSA says that using a seat belt is “the single most effective thing you can do to protect yourself in a crash.” They note that the nation rate of seat belt use was 90.4% in 2021. But it’s clear more people need to buckle up.

If you’ve been injured, call an experienced attorney

Seat belts save lives. But it’s negligent drivers who cause car accidents that leave people injured. Drivers who were speeding or operating recklessly. Drivers who were texting, talking on the phone or adjusting dashboard controls. Some who were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or fell asleep at the wheel. Whether you were wearing a seat belt or not, the driver who caused your accident still needs to be held accountable. You still have legal rights, and you still deserve compensation for your injuries.

If you’ve been hurt in a crash, medical expenses can add up quickly. You may be left wondering how you will be able to pay the bills, especially if you can’t work. If a negligent driver caused the accident, you shouldn’t have to pay. But recovering compensation can be difficult. Negligent drivers deny doing anything wrong and insurance companies try to pay as little as possible.

Johnson + Johnson Attorneys at Law can help. Our experienced car accident lawyers fight for the injured in Lexington and surrounding areas. We offer personalized service, attention to detail and extensive experience handling car accident cases. Our lawyers know how to deal with insurance companies and build strong cases to recover the compensation you deserve.

Learn more about how we can help during a free case evaluation. Contact us to schedule a time that is convenient for you.

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