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Seat Belts Essay

1005 words - 5 pages

A seat belt is “a restraining device used to secure passengers in motorized vehicles” (“Seat Belts F”). Some people believe that the government should not be able to control if a passenger wears a seat belt; it is their personal right and decision. Others believe that to keep everyone safe, the government should require all passengers to wear a seat belt, no matter if you are an adult, teenager, child, or an infant. Seat belts were invented in the 1930’s when physicians decided that they were needed for safety and less injuries (“Seat Belt F”). Although the seat belt was invented in 1930, the 1960’s was when the number of driving-related deaths increased, causing many countries, including the United States, to create laws for seat belts that were loosely enforced (“Seat Belt F”). In 1966, Congress passed the Highway Safety Act that created the Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) (“Seat Belts A”). The seat belt laws were increasingly enforced first in the 1990’s (“Seat Belts F”). As of 2009, 49 out of 50 states required passengers to wear a seat belt (“Seat Belts A”). New Hampshire was the only state who did not have a seat belt law for adults (“Seat Belts A”). However, in all 50 states, laws declare that children must ride in certified seats such as car seats, booster seats, or backwards car seats, depending on their age, and when they outgrow those, an adult seat belt is required (“Seat Belts A”). Highway crashes cause more than 90 percent of transportation-related deaths, and exactly 19 percent of passengers in our nation choose not to wear their seat belt (Roeber). That means that 19 percent of America’s population is at risk of losing their lives in an accident. Research shows that only one percent of passengers in a vehicle buckled up are ejected, while 30 percent of unbuckled passengers/drivers are ejected (Roeber). Sadly, 75 percent of all passengers ejected from a vehicle are killed, giving the 30 percent of unbuckled passengers very low chances for survival (Roeber).
The supporters of seat belts believe that the government can require passengers to wear a seat belt. Research by NHTSA suggests that seat belts do save lives (“Seat Belts A”). A study estimated that 13,250 lives of passengers over the age of four were saved in 2008 by the use of seat belts (“Seat Belts A”). 4,152 additional people could still be alive it they had used their seat belt 100 percent of the time (“Seat Belts A”). Since seat belts are proven to prevent and stop ejections from occurring ninety-nine percent of the time, people strongly believe that you should wear them (“Seat Belts A”). When a passenger is ejected from a vehicle, it is usually fatal (“Seat Belts A”). In fact, about 77 percent of people completely ejected from...

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