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Tracy Morgan Part II: Would Wearing a Seatbelt Have Prevented or Reduced His Injuries?

In June, we discussed the collision between Walmart’s truck and Morgan’s vehicle. We focused on Morgan’s assertions that the driver of the truck violated applicable trucking regulations, and that the violation caused the accident. Morgan has sued Walmart seeking recovery for his injuries, and in his suit, he points to the alleged violations by the truck driver. However, Walmart alleged that Morgan was in violation, noting that he was not wearing his seatbelt at the time of the collision. Walmart argued that had he been wearing the seatbelt, he would not have been injured, or his injuries would have been much less severe. That said, your Denver accident attorney decided to look into whether wearing a seatbelt actually prevents serious bodily injury in motor vehicle accidents.

Seatbelt Statistics

According to the Centers for Disease Control, wearing a seatbelt is the most effective way to prevent death and serious injury in a crash. Among drivers and front seat passengers, the use of seatbelts reduces the risk of death by 45 percent and cuts the risk of serious injury by 50 percent. This is because when used properly, seatbelts spread the force of a collision across two of the human body’s strongest areas: the pelvis and the upper chest.

When occupants of a car are unrestrained and in an accident, three collisions occur:

  • The vehicle and the external object
  • The unbelted occupant and the vehicle interior (such as the head hitting a window, or the chest hitting a steering wheel)
  • Internal organs of the unbelted occupant and the chest wall or skeletal structure

In addition to preventing injuries inside a vehicle, your Denver accident attorney emphasizes that wearing a seatbelt prevents drivers and passengers from being ejected  during a crash. People not wearing a seatbelt are 30 times more likely to be ejected, and more than three out of four people who are ejected during a crash die from their injuries. Many people believe that it is better to be thrown clear of wreckage in the event of a crash, but an occupant of a vehicle is four times more likely to be fatally injured when thrown from a vehicle.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death of Americans 30 years old and younger. In 2009, crashes killed more than 33,000 people and injured another 2.2 million people. More than half of the people killed in car crashes were not restrained at the time of the collision. In response to these facts, the CDC has recommended that all states enact primary enforcement laws for seatbelts. Primary enforcement allows officers to stop drivers for a seatbelt violation alone, whereas secondary enforcement laws only allow an officer to issue a ticket for a seatbelt violation when the vehicle is already stopped for another reason. Colorado is one of 19 states to still have secondary enforcement of adult seatbelt laws. However, Colorado did enact a primary enforcement law for child passenger safety.

If you have been in a motor vehicle accident in which you or someone else involved was not wearing a seatbelt, contact Jordan Levine of Levine Law for information regarding your legal rights. 

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