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Buckle up: Traffic fatalities from not wearing seat belts are on the rise

  1. Traffic fatalities from not wearing seat belts are on the rise
  2. How common are accidents involving unrestrained drivers or passengers?
  3. How bad is the problem in Washington State?
  4. A car accident lawyer can fight for you

Traffic fatalities from not wearing seat belts are on the rise

Buckling Up Seatbelt

Even though fewer drivers were on the road last year, the number of car accident fatalities nationwide involving people not wearing their seat belts skyrocketed during 2020, according to recently released statistics. Meanwhile, the numbers show fatalities involving unrestrained crash victims in Washington State continue to be a problem as well.

Last year’s spike in motor vehicle fatalities involving unrestrained drivers and passengers nationwide was outlined in a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This is despite the fact that motorists drove 430.2 billion fewer miles last year, a reduction of 13.2% compared to 2019, according to a recent Forbes analysis.

Specifically, the number of people killed in accidents while not wearing their seat belts increased 15% last year. They went from 10,369 deaths in 2019 to 11,883 deaths in 2020. In addition, the number of deaths involving people being ejected from their vehicles increased by 20% last year: from 5,059 deaths in 2019 to 6,052 deaths in 2020.

Here’s what drivers in Kent and the Seattle Metro Area should know.

How common are accidents involving unrestrained drivers or passengers?

Not wearing a seat belt has been a problem for many years for certain drivers and passengers. In particular, teenage drivers and passengers are less likely to wear a seat belt than any other age group, according to statistics compiled by the National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS). In fact, nearly half of motor vehicle fatalities involved unrestrained drivers and passengers ages 16 to 19.

Drivers and passengers of all ages who don’t wear seat belts are also more likely to engage in other dangerous behaviors, including drinking and driving, distracted driving, and speeding, according to the NHTSA.

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How bad is the problem in Washington State?

The crisis involving drivers and passengers not wearing seat belts nationwide is a problem in Washington State too. Each year, an estimated 107 people not wearing seat belts die in motor vehicle crashes in the state, according to accident statistics compiled by the NHTSA.

A recent study conducted by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission also found that drivers in Washington who did not use their seat belts were also “involved in other high-risk driving behaviors like speeding, distracted or aggressive driving, and impaired driving.”

In particular, drinking and driving and not wearing a seat belt was an exceptionally bad problem in Washington State. Researchers found that nearly 75% of motor vehicle deaths involving unrestrained drivers or passengers involved alcohol impairment.

A car accident lawyer can fight for you

Even if you wear your seat belt and practice safe driving habits, all it takes is one negligent driver to cause an accident that changes your life forever. If you were injured or a loved one died in a crash, it’s important for you to know your legal rights and options. At Herschensohn Law, PLLC, we can help you every step of the way. We’re familiar with Washington’s laws and how the legal system works when it comes to car accident claims. That’s why we have such a strong track record of success here.

Learn more about how we can help you. Contact us at our office in Kent, WA today to schedule your free case evaluation.

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When you request your free consultation, Kent personal injury attorney Zach Herschensohn will listen to you, answer your questions, lay out your legal options, and give you down-to-earth legal advice.

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We’re proud to fight—and win—for injured people in Kent, Washington. View our case results to learn more.