Sound familiar? The lyrics above are fromWayne Cochran's 1961 “Last Kiss,” (made popular again by Pearl Jam) in which he laments the loss of the love of his life in a car accident. Too many stories abound about people who died in car accidents because they either wore their seatbelt improperly, or not at all. Nobody likes to suffer the heartache of losing a loved one, so we should make it a habit to periodically review seatbelt safety guidelines so that we can prevent others or ourselves from feeling such pain. It doesn't matter whether you're driving your own car or a rental, you should always obey seatbelt laws.
The Best Protection in a Car Accident
Failing to wear a seatbelt contributes to more traffic accident fatalities than any other single traffic safety-related behavior; more than 60% of the people killed in traffic accidents were not wearing seatbelts at the time of their accidents. Wearing a seatbelt continues to be the single most effective thing we can do to save lives and reduce injuries on the road. If 90% of Americans were to buckle up, more than 5,500 deaths and 132,000 injuries could be prevented annually.
The Most Important Driving Safety Step in Your Rental Car
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seatbelts are the most effective traffic safety device for the prevention of death and injuries. Wearing a seatbelt when driving your independent rental car can effectively save lives and prevent injuries:
• From 2004 to 2008, more than 75,000 lives were saved by seatbelts
• In 2007, 42% of those killed in traffic accidents were not wearing a seatbelt
State Seatbelt Laws
Forty-nine states (excluding New Hampshire) and the District of Columbia require all drivers to wear seatbelts. Mandatory seatbelt usage is governed by primary enforcement (police can pull drivers over and ticket them simply for not wearing a seatbelt) and secondary enforcement (police can only ticket you for not wearing a seatbelt if they first pull you over for something else). States with primary enforcement have seatbelt usage rates 13% higher than those with secondary enforcement. Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia utilize primary enforcement, and the other 18 states with mandatory seatbelt laws utilize secondary