Brad Pistotnik Law
Abogado El Toro

Do Seatbelts Save Lives in Kansas?

Do seatbelts save lives and reduce injuries in automobile accidents? Does a seatbelt provide reliable protection that vehicle occupants can depend on against a fatal accident? Seatbelt technology has improved considerably since they were first offered as options in the late 1940's. Advancements in design and technology have made seatbelt systems more responsive and effective at protecting vehicle occupants. Seatbelt legislation which requires their installation and use is helping to reduce the number of serious injuries and fatalities from automobile accidents.

Surveys conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) showed that 89.7% of motorists routinely wore their seatbelts in 2017. This was a slight decline from the peak of 90.1% in 2016. Nationwide, seatbelt use has increased significantly since 1983 when just 14% of motorists wore seatbelts. These numbers began to rise sharply in the 1980's and 1990's as an increasing number of states mandated seatbelt usage. In Kansas, seatbelt use rose from 63.6% in 2003 to 80.7% in 2013.

In 2016, 133,954 Kansans were involved in car accidents. Of these, 122,758 were wearing seatbelts at the time of the collision. Over the past decade, a total of 1,494,560 Kansans were involved in accidents. Of these, 1,340,733 were wearing seatbelts when the accident occurred. Over this same period, seatbelt usage in the state has been on par or higher than the national level. At Brad Pistotnik Law, I see many accidents where serious injuries occur with younger drivers and teenagers who are in a car and driver loses control and rolls the vehicle and they have extremely serious injuries and sometimes die.

However, seatbelts have not saved every life. In 2016, there were 325 car accident fatalities in Kansas. Of these, 147 drivers and passengers, or 45.2%, were wearing seatbelts. Over the past 10 years, 1,355 drivers and passengers or 38.9% of all accident fatalities recorded in Kansas were wearing seatbelts in the collision. It's clear that seatbelts do save lives, but they don't save every life and there are many factors including higher vehicle speed, point of impact, vehicle construction, etc. that can limit the protective capabilities of a seatbelt.

Seatbelts are not foolproof and people can still be injured or involved in a Kansas fatal accident while wearing them. In 2016, 16,510 people were injured in car accidents. Of these, 14,360 (87%) were wearing seatbelts. By comparison, over the past ten years 1,296,364 individuals have "walked away" from accidents unharmed. Of these, 1,178,545 (90.9%) were wearing seatbelts. The data shows that while wearing a seatbelt won't eliminate the risk of injury, it does significantly increase the odds that the individual will survive the accident or walk away from it unharmed.

Nationwide, the NHTSA estimated that seatbelts saved 14,668 lives in 2016. Over the course of that year, 37,461 individuals died in car accidents. Of those, 48% were not wearing seatbelts. The NHTSA estimated that if those who died had worn seatbelts, a further 2,456 people would have survived the accident that claimed their life.

Brad Pistotnik Law represents clients involved in a fatal accident and the surviving family members of those who suffer a wrongful death in Overland Park, Salina, Hays, Wichita, Junction City, Garden City, Leawood, McPherson, El Dorado, Liberal, Dodge City, Great Bend, Colby, Goodland, Satanta, Ulysses, Kingman, Pratt, Newton, Emporia, McPherson, Hutchinson, Arkansas City, Wellington, Omaha, Lincoln, Grand Junction, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Laredo, Guymon, Kearney, Lincoln, Orlando, Tampa, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, and elsewhere in Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Missouri, Texas, Florida and Illinois. We help clients pursue the compensation required to cover medical expenses, funeral expenses, property damage, and the overall impact to lifestyle and quality of life that a fatality causing car accident can create.

We are Brad Pistotnik Law. ® We are Abogado El Toro. ® Hire the real Brad. ® Call in the Bull. ® We are the Bull Attorneys! ™ Call us at 1-800-241-BRAD or call us on our local line at 316-684-4400. You can call Brad Pistotnik on his cell at 316-706-5020. You can call Tony Atterbury on his cell at 316-617-9237. You can call from Western Kansas at 620-THE-BULL. Our main office location is at 10111 E. 21st St. N., Suite 204, Wichita Kansas 67206. Our Garden City office is at 3102 E, Kansas Avenue, Suite 100, Garden City, Kansas. We always give free consultations and we answer the phone 24/7 and on weekends and holidays for free legal consultation.