Wearing your seat belt is one of the best ways to keep you protected from harm in case of a car accident. Despite this well-known fact, many drivers and passengers fail to use their seat belt, which can result in serious injury or death. Additionally, not wearing your seat belt can subject you to fines and legal frustrations.
The Harrisburg car accident lawyers at Schmidt Kramer have prepared the following information below on the various seat belt laws in place in Pennsylvania to help keep you safe on the road.
Statistics on Car Accidents and Seat Belt Use
Wearing your seat belt can increase the likelihood of surviving an accident by up to 60 percent. National research indicates that you are 25 times more likely to be killed if you do not buckle up and are ejected from the vehicle.
It is important to wear seat belts, even if the journey is not very far. Three out of four crashes occur within 25 miles from the driver or passenger’s home.
According to the latest statistics by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, 80.2 percent of people involved in car crashes in the state were wearing seat belts in 2017. However, 50.3 percent of people who died in car crashes were not wearing seat belts. Additionally, 911 people who had serious accident injuries in 2017 were not wearing seat belts. A lap/shoulder belt reduces the risk of fatal injuries to front seat passengers by 45 percent.
Wearing seat belts is also important to protect child passengers. When properly installed, child safety seats reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for toddlers.
Wearing a Seat Belt in Pennsylvania
There are a number of laws regarding seat belt use in Pennsylvania. There are different rules for drivers and passengers, depending on their age and location in the vehicle.
Drivers must wear their seat belts at all times under state law. They must also secure a child from birth to age eight in an approved car seat or child passenger restraint system. Children under two must be in a rear-facing seat until the child exceeds the manufacturer’s maximum height and weight limits.
Drivers are also responsible for securing a child ages four to eight in a seat belt system and an appropriately fitting booster seat. Driving anyone between the ages of eight and 18 years old must wear a seat belt at all times.
If the driver is under 18, he or she cannot operate a vehicle that has more passengers than it has seat belts.
All front seat passengers must wear seat belts. Children passengers should be buckled up at all times and in any seat. The back seat is the safest location for child passengers.
Penalties for Not Wearing a Seat Belt
If a driver does not secure a passenger between eight and 18 years of age in a seat belt system anywhere in the vehicle, the penalty is a $10 fine plus court fees.
Failing to secure a child from four to eight years of age in a seat belt system and appropriately fitting child booster seat can result in a $75 fine plus court fees or proof of a car seat purchase.
Click It or Ticket Campaign
Pennsylvania participates in the national Click It or Ticket campaign in which law enforcement agencies conduct specific enforcement activity in May and November to promote highway safety. During these time periods, drivers and passengers are especially reminded to buckle up to avoid facing unnecessary injuries or penalties.
Get Legal Help If You Have Been Injured in a Car Accident
If you were injured in a car accident, it is important that you learn about your rights. The skilled team of attorneys at Schmidt Kramer can review the specifics of your case and explain your options for recovery.
Contact us to schedule your free consultation. We work on a contingency fee basis, so you are not charged any legal fees unless we recover compensation on your behalf.
Give us a call at (717) 888-8888 to get started.