Princess Diana was greatly loved and admired by many people around the world. She was the epitome of a “perfect Princess” and for many she was considered a role model. Tragically, her life ended far too early in a fatal car accident. Diana was the passenger in the backseat of a Mercedes and was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash. Evidence proves that Princess Diana would be alive today if she had chosen to wear a seatbelt. Princess Diana is not the only one. Every year, approximately 17,000 people die in a car accident by choosing irresponsibly not to wear a seatbelt.
We should propose and enforce a law that everyone should wear seatbelts in the backseat to ensure safety and foster responsibility. The injuries caused by not wearing a seatbelt can potentially change your life forever. In many cases, people have been paralyzed which has caused them to never be able to do some of the simplest tasks they used to do. They are not able to walk, drive, feed themselves, bathe themselves, or even dress themselves. Some other injuries could be involved with your head, face, neck, back, and brain.
It is not often that the unbuckled passengers walk away with only minor injuries. Not only can victims be injured physically, but they can be injured emotionally. Victimized passengers tend to relive the horrific accident over and over again by having it replay in their mind. They may go through a lot of depression, especially if a loved one was injured or killed as well. Injuries are the smallest of worries when it comes to car accidents considering that many people have been killed by choosing to not buckle up in the backseat.
There have been many cases in which people have decided not to buckle up, which led them to getting severe injuries. An example of this would be the case of a 19 year old girl named Sarah McGaughey. Sarah was in a near-death accident while only going 30 miles per hour. She was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident, which led her to being in a coma for about five weeks after suffering severe head injuries. When explaining her story, Sarah said, “I very nearly died. When the police found me I was rolled up in a ball in the passenger footwell and they thought I was dead” (www. roadwise. o). Not wearing a seatbelt can have brutal effects and can alter the way you live your life. Out of every 100 people involved in a car accident, at least 80 of them would survive if they had chosen to buckle up. What if you were one of those 80 people who were killed? By choosing to wear a seatbelt, a life could have easily been saved. Not only can this irresponsibility cause your death, but it can also cause the deaths of others in the car. In many scenarios, unbuckled passengers became dangerous missiles, colliding with the other occupants in the car and causing more than one fatality.
Even at a low speed, not wearing a seatbelt can cause death or major injuries. For example, a crash at 25 miles per hour is equivalent to falling out of a two story building. Neil Houlistan was one of many people who have been killed in a car accident because of not wearing a seatbelt. His story is especially tragic because it happened on Christmas day when he was coming to see his family. Neil was only 17 years old when he was killed. His father was told that if Neil was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident, he would have walked away with only a minor whiplash.
The reality of the consequences of not wearing a seatbelt, and many people do not realize, is that anyone at any age can die from being unrestrained in a vehicle. Although being unrestrained in a vehicle causes injuries and deaths, it also causes a major lack in responsibility. By creating a law that seat belts must be worn in the backseat, passengers will become more responsible and will cause them to be as safe as possible when riding in a vehicle. Being responsible in an automobile is key to decreasing the risk of injuries or even death when in a car accident.
People who choose to not follow this rule will not only face consequences with the law, but will most likely face consequences to their own body during a crash. According to resources, not wearing a seatbelt is irresponsible financially as well. The price of caring for an unrestrained victim is approximately fifty percent higher than a victim who was restrained. In most cases not buckling up will cause you to lose money and even lives. One of the main reasons people choose not to wear seatbelts is because they think they or whoever is driving is a good enough driver not to get in an accident.
People believe that they are safe drivers but many do not realize that there are other drivers out on the road who are not safe drivers and could potentially cause an accident with you or whoever you are riding with. Many people do not take into consideration that they could get into an accident even if they are a good driver. It just might not be their fault. Even if someone is the safest driver, their passengers and they should still wear a seatbelt at all times, just in case there is a dangerous driver out on the road.
Another reason people choose not to wear seatbelts is that it is uncomfortable and keeps people from having freedom in the car. Many people say that they feel restrained in the car while wearing a seatbelt and tend to get irritated by them. There have been incidents where accidents have occurred and the people who had been wearing a seatbelt were trapped in their burning car and some people have even died because of that, which is another excuse that people have not to wear them.
People believe that because they have an airbag in their car that will protect them during an accident, they do not need to wear a seatbelt. Airbags do not always work though. There are cases where people have not worn seatbelts because they thought their airbag could protect them while in an accident, but when the driver or passenger was actually in an accident, the airbags did not deploy and they went flying through the windshield. Also, you can still be thrown around in your car even if the airbags are working.
Airbags are less effective and may even be useless if you are not wearing a seat belt. Wearing your seat belt when driving or riding in a vehicle can only save your life if you wear it properly. The shoulder belt has to go over your shoulder, not under your arm, and it should be snug to your body, not loose. If the shoulder belt is worn incorrectly and you are in an accident, it could crush your ribs or even injure your internal organs. Also, with just only having the shoulder strap on, you can still slide out from under it and be strangled.
Wearing a seatbelt incorrectly is equivalent to not wearing a seatbelt at all because it is useless and serves no function when you wear it the wrong way. Wearing your seatbelt the right way will decrease your chances of being severely injured in an accident. Some may have their own reasons or excuses not to wear a seatbelt such as being uncomfortable, not having enough freedom, or just thinking that they are invincible, but if a simple strap across your chest can potentially save your life, why not wear one?
By being responsible and choosing to wear a seatbelt, you are protecting yourself and those around you. Seatbelts are what keep you from being thrown around the car or even flying through the windshield in an accident. Wearing a seatbelt incorrectly or not at all can put you in danger and could possibly result in major injuries or even death. So, the next time you decide to not wear a seatbelt, think about all the risks you are taking and how your life could be ended in the blink of an eye.
Bitterman, Jim. “Princess Diana Dead after Paris Car Crash.” CNN Interactive. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Dec. 2012. <http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/9708/30/diana.dead/>. In this article, the author talks about Princess Diana’s death. He explains that she dies because she was not wearing a seat belt, and if she had been wearing one, she would have lived. The author also talks about Princess Diana suffering head and internal injuries. The location, time, and how it happened are also mentioned in the article. “Buckling up.” Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Dec. 2012. ;http://www.saferoads.org/buckling;. This website game many statistics about seat belt safety that were used in this essay. Also, the website has the list of states that require seatbelts to be worn. There are some primary enforcement law facts as well. Goguen, David, ed. “The Most Common Car Accident Injuries.”
All about Car Accidents. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Dec. 2012. ;http://www.all-about-car-accidents.com/car-accident-injuries.html;. The author of this article explained the different injuries that were most common in car accidents from not wearing a seat belt. The injuries include brain, head, neck, back, face and even psychological injuries. In this essay, some of the injuries mentioned on this website were used. “Safety Belt Statistics.” James Madison University. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Dec. 2012. ;http://www.jmu.edu/safetyplan/vehicle/generaldriver/safetybelt.shtml;. This article is full of facts and statistics on seat belt safety. In this essay, many of the statistics were used to help the audience get a better understanding about how dangerous not wearing a seat belt could be.
The statistics are very educational and eye-opening. “Seat Belt Tragedies… the Human Stories.” Road Wise. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Dec. 2012. ;http://www.roadwise.co.uk/media/seat-belt-tragedies;. This article talks about different real-life stories about accidents when people were wearing seat belts and the consequences they faced. The stories are devastating and the author mentions them because they want the reader to know the reality of what happens when you don’t wear a seat belt. The author’s main focus is to get people to make the right choice by buckling up. “State of the Road.” Center for Accident Research and Road Safety. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Dec. 2012.