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Wearing a seat belt is the single most effective and simple means to reduce serious injury or death in a car accident. Unfortunately, many drivers and passengers do not use them. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, roughly 5,500 lives could be saved every year by increasing the use of seat belts to 90 percent. Currently, only 68 percent of riders in the United States wear them.


Adjusting the seat belt to fit your body is just as important as wearing the seat belt itself. What is the proper way for an adult, or child over six years old, to wear a seat belt? The strap of the safety belt should sit across your lap, snugly over your hips and thighs. It should rest across your chest and shoulders, not across our neck or face. Always have the strap in front of your body, not behind your back. Here are a few tips to ensure proper seat belt use.


– Keep a safe distance from the steering wheel. You want to sit as far back as possible from the wheel in case of impact. 

– According to Virginia state law, all front seat passengers must buckle up. Forty nine states and the District of Columbia have mandatory seat belt laws.

– Be a good role model and encourage children that you buckle up.

– If the child is in a car seat, make sure the car seat sits tightly on the seat. Refer to the car seat manual for proper placement of the safety belt. Infants up to one year old, or up to 20 pounds, should use rear-facing car seats. A front-facing convertible or high-back booster with a harness should be used for children 20-40 pounds.

According to the NHTSA, more than 15,000 lives are saved every year in the United States because occupants were wearing seat belts during an accident. Make sure you are wearing yours. If you have been injured in an auto accident, please call the Car Accident Lawyers at Rutter Mills Law Firm for a no-obligation consultation of your legal rights.