Approximately 50% of people who die in traffic accidents every year are not wearing seat belts at the time of the accident. This is in spite of the fact that national seat belt usage rates are currently at a record 86%. Car accident lawyers believe that more people could be encouraged to wear seat belts through the wide spread use of seatbelt reminder systems in automobiles.
A new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety finds that there is growing public support for the expanded use of seatbelt reminder alerts. In the 1970s, when these technologies were first introduced, there was a widespread backlash against the technology. In 1973, the administration passed a mandate that required all new automobiles that did not come with airbags, to come with a built-in lock system that would not allow the car to start until the front seat occupants wore seatbelts.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that the reaction to the mandate requiring such systems was so negative, that it eliminated the requirement altogether. In fact, the criticism was so great that Congress actually passed a law that banned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration from requiring belt interlock systems.
Now however, the attitude is very different. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety surveyed as many as 1,200 drivers and passengers about seatbelt use. Approximately 91% of the people in the survey said that they always wear seat belts while driving, while 8% said that they wore seat belts most of the time. Approximately 1% said that they did not buckle up while driving.
Most importantly, more than 50% of the respondents in the survey said that they would be much more likely to wear a seatbelt if the car came with an audible reminder system that included a buzzer, a chime or some other voice alert. However, nearly 3 times as many respondents said that they would be much more likely to support a seatbelt reminder system that continues indefinitely, or grows even more intense and loud till the front seat occupants buckle up.