Studies Show Rural Virginia Struggling To Improve Seat Belt Usage Rates

With data showing that simply buckling a seat belt can decrease a person’s chances of injury or death by as much as 70 percent in the event of an accident, it comes as a shock to many that people still aren’t buckling up. Yet, a recent report examining data collected by the state shows that Virginians living in rural areas are falling behind standard rates for use of the life saving devices.

A story from Insurance Journal explains surveys from 2011 concluded only 76 percent of motorists in the regions north and west of Richmond, Virginia, used seat belts, compared to the average statewide rate of around 84 percent. Over a recent five-year period, eight people died in Floyd County accidents as a result of not using a seatbelt, while 10 people died in Alleghany County. Bedford County saw 32 fatalities associated with a lack of seat belt use. More than 1,600 people died statewide as a result of not wearing a seat belt at the time of a Richmond auto accident.

Experts say stiffening penalties for the infraction may be the only way to make people buckle up. Current law states that not wearing a seat belt is only a secondary offense that is punishable by a $25 fine.

An injury lawyer based in Richmond, VA with the law firm of Geoff McDonald & Associates encourage all motorists to stay safe by buckling up every time they get into a vehicle.