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Seat Belt Required

As a St Louis car accident lawyer, an issue that always comes up is what type of safety precautions was the injured victim taking, such as wearing their seat belt. Jurors want to know that the claimant took reasonable safety precautions. However, in most cases, if the injured victim was not wearing their seatbelt, that should be excluded form evidence.

Recently, in the St Louis area, a female passenger was killed and a male driver was injured in a single-vehicle crash in Jefferson County, Missouri this past Friday night.

Police have said that Keith Kimberly lost control of his Chevy Camaro while going around a curve on Lonedell Road just before 10:30 p.m. Police believe that Kimberly attempted to overcorrect and ended up swerving into a utility pole.

Angela Long-Larue, 36, of St. Louis was pronounced dead on the scene by Rock Township emergency personnel. Kimberly made it out of the wreck in better shape and was transported to St. Anthony’s Hospital with only moderate injuries.

According to the crash report, neither Kimberly nor Long-Larue was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident. This wreck demonstrates what we already know: every hour someone dies in America simply because they chose not to buckle up. Despite the fact that safety belts are the most effective means of reducing fatalities and serious injuries, sadly, many adults and children simple don’t feel the need to use them.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among those between the ages of five and 34. An astounding 2.3 million adult drivers and passengers were treated in emergency departments as the result of being injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2009. The CDC says that adults who do not use safety belts may think that their behavior only affects them, but they are wrong. Studies consistently show that there is a correlation between adult belt use and child belt use. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), when a driver is buckled, 94 percent of the time children in that vehicle are buckled; but, when a driver is unbuckled, only 30 percent of child passengers are buckled. What parent wants to pass along such a dangerous habit?

Beyond the physical harm of not wearing seatbelts, there’s a monetary impact as well. Vehicle crash costs skyrocket when occupants aren’t wearing seat belts, because unbelted victims sustain more severe injuries. Of the people who survive car crashes, unbelted victims stay three-to-five times longer in a hospital and incur two-to-seven times the medical costs of those wearing safety belts, according to the NHTSA.

As was the case here, many people incorrectly believe they are in less danger when driving on slower, back roads. According to NHTSA research, 75 percent of all traffic deaths and injuries occur within 25 miles of victims’ homes, at speeds of less than 40 miles per hour. A good example of just how dangerous such crashes can be is that being thrown against a dashboard in a 30 mile-per-hour crash is like striking the ground after falling from a third-floor window.

For information on how to protect your legal rights if you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an accident, call one of our Missouri and Jefferson County car accident attorneys today at 314-863-0500.

Source: “St. Louis woman killed, driver injured in single-vehicle crash,” by Daniel Mueller, published at KMOV.com.

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