It’s Not the Good Ol’ Days: 3 Things You Can’t Do in Cars Anymore
There is certainly a much greater emphasis on motor vehicle safety nowadays compared to what existed 50 years ago.
This concern is justified, as vehicle accidents are the top cause of death for those in the U.S. under the age of 30. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that Oklahoma endured 5,800 fatalities over a recent nine-year period. In 2012, the national rate of motor vehicle deaths per 100,000 people was 7.0—but Oklahoma’s rate was 14.3.
In the CDC’s spirit of “working together” to keep the roads safe, we’d like to talk about a few things that people used to do in the ‘60s and ‘70s (and why you should NOT do them anymore).
Not Wearing Seat Belts
The national average for seat belt adherence is roughly 86%, and Oklahoma’s average is close to that at 84%. The importance of wearing a seat belt is very well known; however, a decent-sized chunk of the population continues to risk a 50% greater chance of death in a car accident by not wearing a seat belt. Why? We don’t know.
Oklahoma’s Motor Vehicles statute §47-12-417 states that everyone in the front seats of Class A, Class B, or Class C vehicles must wear a seat belt that is correctly secured and positioned. The state employs “primary” seat belt laws, meaning that you may be stopped solely for not wearing a seat belt. This is different from jurisdictions that consider seat belt laws “secondary,” which means that you may only be ticketed for not wearing a seat belt if already stopped for another traffic infraction. So buckle up.
Not Using Child Safety Seats
In 2015, approximately 663 children under the age of 12 were killed in auto accidents, and 132,000 were injured. These crashes are a leading cause of child fatalities in the U.S. The responsibility for child safety restraints falls on parents or caregivers, so know these rules:
- Children under 2: Children younger than 2 are the most susceptible to injuries in a car accident. For this reason, they must be secured in “rear-facing” child safety seats. These are commonly referred to as infant car seats.
- Children 2 to 4: Children in this age group are placed in “forward-facing” car seats. These units feature a five-point harness system of restraint.
- Children 4 to 8: For this age group, a booster seat is used, which is said to reduce the risk of severe injury by about 45%. These children use booster seats or child car seats unless they are 4’9”. Once taller, they transition to adult seat belts.
- Children 8 and older: Children under the age of 12 should always be buckled in the back seat, which is safer in an accident.
Many Oklahoma communities have a child seat inspection program or event where a technician is available to examine the safety of your child’s seat. Always consult your product manual to review critical details such as the compatibility with your vehicle, size limits, and the expiration date. (Yes, car seats expire.)
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration also explains that most car seats should be replaced after being in a vehicle crash. Why? Because strong energy is created in a crash and the framework of the seat may be damaged, although it may look the same.
Riding in the Truck Bed
The bed of a pickup truck is designed for freight, not passengers. Dangers of riding in the bed include being ejected in a collision, or falling over the edge during an abrupt stop or turn. Oklahoma has proposed prohibiting passengers from riding in the bed of a pickup truck; however, the legislation was unsuccessful in passing the senate. There are an estimated 28,000 annual fatalities involving those riding in pickup truck beds.
Federal, state, and local agencies; advocates; and law enforcement all play a critical role in promoting road safety. One way to do this is by increasing penalties when you fail to comply. These include fines and points on your license, so do your homework!
But we think that education and increased awareness is the best way to combat these good ol’ dangers behind the wheel. If you need help or have questions after an Oklahoma car accident, the team at Car Accident Help is here for you. Call (405) 285-4357 for a free consultation.
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