Lack of seatbelt use and illegal lane changing leads to critical injuries to young girls

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Seat Belts

Channel 4 reports on a tragic accident that occurred last month on the Westside that lead to critical injuries for a 13 year-old girl and injuries to a 12 year old girl.  The accident occurred when the girls’ Acura was in the right turn lane on Normandy Boulevard at McGirts Point Boulevard when a truck changed lanes in front of the Acura which then crashed into the back of the truck.  According to  the Florida Highway Patrol, neither girl was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident.  Neighbors told News4Jax that the two girls are sisters.  The driver of the Acura could be cited, because seat belts are required for passengers under 18.  Even though her passengers were not wearing seat belts, the driver of the Acura was wearing a seat belt, but also suffered minor injuries.  The FHP report said charges are pending against the truck’s driver, who was not injured.  According  to News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith, drivers should be careful when they change lanes.  “You just want to make sure you’re a safe distance in front of the vehicle that you’re turning in front of,” Smith said. “Use your turn signal, give it a few seconds and change lanes.”  Smith also said drivers are responsible for making sure children riding in their cars wear seat belts.  Adults in the driver and front passenger seats are also required to wear seat belts. The fine for not wearing a seat belt is more than $100.  Smith said if parents have trouble convincing their child to wear a seat belt, they should tell them that it’s the law, and they should even consider showing their children accident pictures, so they know how dangerous it is to not wear a seat belt.

Each year about 33,000 people are killed in motor vehicle crashes.  According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), car crashes are the leading cause of death for people age 4 and every age 11 through 27 in the U.S.  With 45 to 60 percent effectiveness, seat belts are the single most effective means of reducing the risk of death in a crash and have saved nearly 300,000 lives since 1975 in the U.S. alone.

According to NHTSA, the overall seat belt use rate in 2013 was 87 percent.  Research has found that lap/shoulder seat belts, when used properly, reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants by 45 percent and the risk of moderate-to-critical injury by 50 percent. In light trucks, seat belts reduce the risk of fatal injury by 60 percent and moderate-to-critical injury by 65 percent.

Read more about seatbelt laws here in Florida: http://www.dmvflorida.org/seat-belt-laws.shtml

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