An important topic that we haven’t discussed in our safety series is the importance of seat belt use. As Illinois auto accident lawyers, we know that in our state, each driver and passenger must now wear a seat belt, according to a new state law that went into effect on January 1, 2012. Police can stop vehicles and issue $25 tickets when they spot someone not wearing a seat belt.
Although most drivers are aware of these Illinois laws, many are not familiar with child safety seat requirements. In Illinois, children who are 8 years or less are required to be seated in a safety seat. There are safety seats for infants (rear facing seats), convertible seats (for infants and then toddlers), and booster seats (for young children so they can be secured in the seatbelt). If the child weighs more than 40 pounds, they can be seated in the back seat and only with a lap belt.
In addition to using safety seats for children, it’s also important to make sure they are installed and functioning properly. Many local law enforcement agencies or fire departments offer free car seat installation and inspection for parents to help ensure they are installed correctly. It is worth it to take advantage of these services to increase your child’s risk for serious injury.
As a Chicago auto accident lawyer reminder our readers, if these laws are violated you may incur a fine. These fines are put into place to deter people from riding without seat belts or safety seats for their kids. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “Adult seat belt use is the most effective way to save lives and reduce injuries in crashes.” Seat belts are also proven to reduce serious injuries and even deaths from car accidents by 50%. With these facts, it surprises us that anyone would risk their lives or the lives of their children by not using proper safety devices.
In order to increase seat belt use, states should continue to pass laws requiring seat belts, and also push for law enforcement to strictly enforce these laws. Educators and health professionals should continue to remind students and parents about seat belt habits, and how they can be life saving. Parents should always set a good example by wearing a seatbelt themselves and making sure that their children are secure when in the car together. Wearing a seat belt is an easy thing to do that could be life saving, there is no downside. Our Chicago car accident attorneys urge everyone to wear a seatbelt, no matter how quick the car ride is or where they are seated in the car.