Seat Belt Laws





Seat Belt Laws

The seat belt laws are policies enacted by relevant authorities within the federal government of a country with the main aim of facilitating road safety. This is because most countries have been facing the challenge of deadly road accidents for a long time. An overwhelming number of people die on a daily basis owing to this menace. However, most of these deaths are avoidable through stringent measures governing the acts of the driver and passengers. Although these rules differ depending on the administrative structure of a nation and the severity of road carnage in the region, the agencies mandated to formulate and implement these policies use a somewhat similar framework. For instance, all countries with these forms of laws require the occupants of private and public automobiles to wear seat belts at all times. In the United States, the legal stipulations involving the installation and use of safety belts vary depending on the administrative framework of the state.

            One of the primary sections in the seat belt laws contains legal requirements of an ideal seat for a minor. These rules have slight differences based on the age of the child. The laws are comprehensible in order to avoid any confusion, which may result in severe injuries or death. To begin with, children below 135 centimeters or twelve years ought to use a functional child restraint. Moreover, the driver is responsible for ensuring that all minors below the age of fourteen adhere to the stipulated seat belt laws (Cohen and Liran 95). Nonetheless, children under the age of three years may seat at the rear of a private car without a restraint. Other exceptions include situations where the child is traveling for a short distance. Moreover, the seat belt laws of the United States allow adults to seat in the rear of an automobile without wearing a safety belt in situations where the gadgets are unavailable.

            Similar to other road safety measures, use of child restraints is necessary in order to curb this global threat. Statistics indicate that around 1.2 million people die on a yearly basis due to road accidents with more than 50 million acquiring severe injuries. These figures have been rising on a daily basis, an aspect that has affected the family structure as well as the national and global economies. Failure to deal with the situation effectively will result in an increase of 67 % of the annual road accidents by 2020. Additionally, experts emphasize that safety belts and child restraints are the most effective way of avoiding an ejection during a crash. This is because 75 % of the ejected passengers during a road accident die in comparison to the estimated 5 % of the restrained travelers (Decina 131). The impact of this issue on the social and economic frameworks of a country and the world explains its recognition worldwide in the recent past.

              The efficient implementation of these laws requires the participation of all relevant stakeholders. For instance, motorists should understand that failure to use child restraints might result in severe injuries or death as well as the possible increase of insurance rates. In addition, emergency personnel may encounter similar accidents in their efforts to save the lives of victims of such disasters. Furthermore, insurance companies may only offer partial compensation for the loss through higher insurance payments. In addition to enacting the laws and facilitating their implementation, the federal government usually faces lawsuits from individuals who blame various agencies for ineffective execution of the stipulated policies. It also incurs enormous monetary losses since it has to employ additional personnel in the health subdivision to offer medical assistance to injured individuals. Likewise, the society has the obligation of taking care of physically or mentally disabled people whose predicaments originate from road accidents. Subsequently, all these stakeholders ought to be part of this policy debate in order to enact laws that cater for the needs of everyone in the society while promoting road safety.

            The role of the government is to adjust the existing rules on road safety depending on the emerging trends regarding the issue. Moreover, it has the mandate of punishing individuals who violate this set of policies through appropriate means. Relevant authorities within the federal government also use their influence to conduct public forums aimed at enlightening the general population on the existing seat belt laws and the importance of adhering to these rules (Dissanayake and Niranga 37). Another role of the government is to offer justice to victims of related situations through the judiciary. Some individuals use this branch of the centralized government to condemn the legislative arm for failure to enact effective seat belt laws.

Despite the importance of these laws in saving the lives of a large percentage of commuters, critics assert that these provisions are a violation of individual liberty. They argue that failure to wear a safety belt is a decision, which does not jeopardize the lives of other people. Moreover, some argue that these laws do not consider other influential factors. In conclusion, it is evident that the safety belt policies adopted by a country reduce the number of people injured in road accidents significantly. Nonetheless, all stakeholders ought to be part of the implementation of these rules.

Works Cited

Cohen, Alma, and Liran Einav. The Effects of Mandatory Seat Belt Laws on Driving Behavior and Traffic Fatalities. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Law School, John M. Olin Center for Law, Economics, and Business, 2001. Print.           

Decina, L E. Identifying Strategies to Improve the Effectiveness of Booster Seat Laws. Washington, D.C: U.S. Dept. Of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2008. Print.

Dissanayake, Sunanda, and Niranga Asmarasingha. Identification of Safety Belt Restraint Usage Characteristics Related to Four to Thirteen-Year-Olds. Topeka, Kan: Kansas Dept. Of Transportation, 2013. Print.

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