The state of Washington doesn’t require all drivers and passengers in vehicles to buckle up; rather, the primary seatbelt law in the state of Washington only mandates that children under age eight, or those individuals who are less than four feet, nine inches tall, wear a seatbelt. Regardless of the lack of more comprehensive law, though, Washington State ranks seventh in the entire country for seatbelt use.
Washington Fatality & Seatbelt Use Statistics, 2013
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has provided data regarding the number of fatalities and associated seatbelt usage rates in the year 2013 in all states in the nation.
In Washington State, 57 percent of those who were killed in car crashes in 2013 were restrained by a seatbelt; 31 percent were not. However, the observed seatbelt use rate for the state in 2013 was 94.5 percent, placing it higher on the list than 44 other states, including Puerto Rico.
The states with the highest observed seatbelt use rate are as follows.
- California: 97.4 percent
- Alabama: 97.3 percent
- Oregon: 98.2 percent
The states with the least observed seatbelt use are this list.
- South Dakota: 68.7 percent
- Montana: 74 percent
- Mississippi: 74.4 percent
- Massachusetts: 74.8 percent
The Importance of Always Buckling Up
While there may not be any legal consequences for not wearing your seatbelt in Washington State, there are larger things at stake; wearing a seatbelt is one of the best things that you can do to reduce your chance of severe or fatal injuries in the event of an accident. Take, for instance, the Tracy Morgan truck accident wherein he was seriously injured and his acquaintance was killed, partially because they weren’t wearing safety belts.
Not buckling up puts you more at risk for just about every injury type including the following.
- Head injuries
- Broken bone injuries
- Thrown from the vehicle
- Internal injuries
- Bruising and lacerations
- Facial injuries
- Back and spinal cord injuries
To keep yourself safe, you should always wear a seatbelt when in a vehicle, regardless of whether you’re acting as the driver or as a passenger.
Filing a Claim After a Car Accident with No Seatbelt
If you’ve been in a car accident where you weren’t wearing your seatbelt, you’re still able to recover damages if you can prove two things. One, that your injuries would have occurred regardless of your lack of seatbelt use and two, the other driver’s negligence was the cause of your harm. To learn more about Washington State laws for seatbelts, negligence, and filing a car accident claim, call Max Meyers Law PLLC today at 425-399-7000.