The Washington State Patrol is reminding drivers and passengers to properly use seat belts or they are in violation of Washington’s seat belt law and they could be given a $124 fine. The Washington seat belt law which went in effect 2002 allows police to stop a motorist if he or she or an occupant is not wearing a seat belt. This aggressive law is one reason that Washington state has one of the highest seat belt compliance rates in the U.S.
Seat belt usage greatly increase a person’s chance of surviving a car accident. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics show that seat belts saved more than 75,000 lives between 2004 an 2008.
Seat belts are designed to apply the force of the accident across the chest and pelvis which can withstand the forces of an accident. Wearing a seat belt improperly such as under an arm or behind a person’s back can actually increase the likelihood of injury.
Proper placement of the lap belt:
- Snug: the belt should be over the lower part of the pelvis. If the belt rides up on the stomach, it can, in the event of an accident, injure intestines, liver or other internal organs.
- Posture: sit up straight because slouching allows the belt to ride up.
- Clothing: heavy or bulky clothing should be removed so that the lap belt is in close proximity to the pelvic bones.
- Buckle Up: Always use your seat belt even when pregnant.
Proper placement of the shoulder belt:
- Position: Over the top part of your shoulder and across the chest. The shoulder belt distributes crash forces over the rib cage and protects internal organs.
- Slack: There should never be more than an inch of slack.
- Tucking: Do not tuck your shoulder belt under an arm. This could increase the chances of broken ribs.
- Booster Seats: If a child is too small so that a shoulder belt does not fit properly, they need to be in a booster seat.
This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents and the families of those killed. With our help, you may recover compensation for your damages.