Why should I wear a seat belt?
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Why should I wear a seat belt?
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Foster City Police has a zero tolerance policy for those who choose to violate the statewide mandatory seat belt law. Seat belt violators and drivers failing to restrain their child passengers will be ticketed.

According to accident data from NHTSA, nearly 7,500 teens and young adults, ages 16-24, died in traffic crashes last year and thousands more were injured. Of the 34,080 people killed in crashes in 2012, an estimated 60 percent were not wearing a safety belt.

The Foster City Police Department has partnered with more than 12,000 other law enforcement agencies in a nationwide crackdown against seat belt violators.

During Operation Click-It or Ticket, law enforcement officers will intensify enforcement of seat belt and child passenger safety laws by setting up seat belt checkpoints and concentrating efforts on specific roadways. Seat belt violators and drivers failing to restrain their child passengers will be ticketed.

Teens will continue to be a key target of Click-It or Ticket as well. Fatality rates for teens are twice that of older drivers, and the risk of crashes for teens is four times that of older drivers. This year, approximately 20,500 Americans, adults and children, will die in crashes simply because they failed to buckle their seat belts.

Law enforcement officers participate in these special enforcement campaigns because they save lives. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) reported recently that child fatalities from traffic crashes have declined by 20 percent since 1997, when the mobilizations began, and more than 39 million more Americans are buckling up. However, in California the fatality rate has increased 9% during 2012.

These high-visibility enforcement campaigns are necessary because we continue to lose too many people on our roadways. In 2009 in California, 3,081 adults and children were killed in car crashes – more than 42 percent were totally unrestrained. Tragically, nearly half of those people would have survived had they simply buckle up.

Why Use Safety Belts?

Every 16 minutes somebody in the United States dies in a traffic collision. 89 people lose their lives EACH DAY.

  • Adults who don’t buckle up are sending children the message that it is OK not to wear seat belts.
  • Children model adult behavior.
  • Research shows that when a driver is unbuckled, 70 percent of the time children riding in that car will not be buckled either.
  • Unrestrained children are at great risk of harm. A child unrestrained in a 30 mile-per-hour crash is like a child dropped from a third story window.

To understand the value of safety belt use, it's important to understand some of the dynamics of a crash. Every motor vehicle crash is actually comprised of three collisions.

  1. The Vehicle's Collision - The first collision known as the vehicle's collision, causes the car to buckle and bend as it hits something and comes to an abrupt stop. This occurs in approximately one-tenth of a second, or the blink of your eye. The crushing of the front end absorbs some of the force of the crash and cushions the rest of the car. As a result, the passenger compartment comes to a more gradual stop than the front of the car.
  2. The Human Collision - The second collision occurs as the car's occupants hit some part of the vehicle. At the moment of impact, unbelted occupants are still traveling at the vehicle's original speed. Just after the vehicle comes to a complete stop, these unbelted occupants will slam into the steering wheel, the windshield, or some other part of the vehicle interior. This is the human collision. Another form of human collision is the person-to-person impact. Many serious injuries are caused by unbelted occupants colliding with each other. In a crash, occupants tend to move toward the point of impact, not away from it. People in the front seat are often struck by unbelted rear-seat passengers who have become high-speed projectiles.
  3. The Internal Collision - Even after the occupant's body comes to a complete stop, the internal organs are still moving forward. Suddenly, these organs hit other organs or the skeletal system. This third collision is the internal collision and often causes serious or fatal injuries.

So, Why Safety Belts?

  • Properly fastened safety belts distribute the forces of rapid deceleration over the larger and stronger parts of the person's body, such as the chest, hips and shoulders.
  • The safety belt stretches slightly to slow your body down safely and to decrease how far the body travels before coming to a halt.
  • The difference between the belted person's stopping distance and the unbelted person's stopping distance is significant. It's often the difference between life and death!
  • A seatbelt can reduce the possibilities of being involved in the "human collision."
  • Nearly 50% of fatal accidents occur within a couple of miles of the victim’s home or work place. Whether you are going on a long vacation drive, or around the corner to the grocery store, wear your seatbelt.

Do you know what happens in the first fatal second after a car going 55 MPH hits a solid object?

  • In the first 10th of a second, the front bumper and grille collapse.
  • The second 10th finds the hood crumbling, rising and striking the windshield as the spinning rear wheels lift from the ground. Simultaneously, fenders begin wrapping themselves around the solid object. Although the car’s frame has been halted, the rest of the car is still going 55 MPH. Instinct causes the driver to stiffen his legs against the crash, and they snap at the knee joint.
  • During the third 10th of the second, the steering wheel starts to disintegrate and the steering column aims for the driver’s chest.
  • The fourth 10th of the second finds two feet of the car’s front end wrecked, while the rear end still moves at 35 mph. The driver’s body is still traveling at 55 mph.
  • In the fifth 10th of a second, the driver is impaled on the steering column, and blood rushes into his lungs.
  • The sixth 10th of a second, the impact has built up to the point that the driver’s feet are ripped out of the tightly laced shoes. The brake pedal breaks off. The car frame buckles in the middle. The driver’s head smashes into the windshield as the rear wheels, still spinning, fall back to earth.
  • In the seventh 10th of the second, hinges rip loose, doors fly open and the seats break free, striking the driver from behind. The seat striking the driver does not bother him because he is already dead.
  • The last three 10ths of the second mean nothing to the driver. (Georgia State Paramedics Against Drunk Drivers)

    Just don’t wear your seatbelt because it’s the law, do it for yourself, your family and your friends because you care!

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City Hall - 610 Foster City Blvd.
Foster City, CA 94404
(650) 286-3200