Why Wearing Your Seat Belt is Required by Law

Our state, like every other state in the U.S. requires the occupants of a moving motor vehicle to buckle their seat belts. Of course, from a legal standpoint, it doesn’t make much sense not to as it will cost you some money. More than that, not buckling up also puts you in violation of another set of laws and these can cost you more than just money. What are these laws you ask? The laws of physics.

Way before there were even automobiles, much less seat belts, a fellow named Isaac Newton devised three basic laws of physics. The first of these he called the law of inertia. It basically states that an object in motion tends to stay in motion, unless acted upon by another force. While it is hard to remember while driving around in your comfortable car, the fact is that if it is traveling at 60 miles per hour, so are you. You have become an “object in motion”. If your car comes to a sudden stop, you continue in motion until another force acts upon you. The force that you want in this situation is the seat belt, not your steering wheel, dashboard or windshield!

Even if your car comes to a stop at a low speed, it is still to your benefit to buckle up.

  • Being belted helps you keep control of your car. If you are being bounced around, you probably aren’t going to be able to stop your car effectively or to prevent hitting something else.
  • Being belted helps you to remain conscious. If you bounce around enough to get knocked out, you certainly won’t be able to stop your car or prevent it from hitting something else!
  • Being belted keeps you from bouncing off other people in your car. To keep them from bouncing into you, make sure everyone in your car is buckled up before you go.
  • Being belted keeps you inside your car. If you are thrown from your car, your chances of being killed are nearly 25 times greater than if you remained inside.

It is important to remember that a seat belt only offers this level of protection if it is worn and that it is worn properly. Make sure that the shoulder strap is snug against your chest, not behind you or under your arm. The lap belt should be settled across your hips, not your waist. Bones are much better suited to absorb the stopping force of your seat belt than your internal organs are!

It has been estimated by the Texas Department of Public Safety that over 13,000 lives were saved in 2010, simply through the proper use of seat belts alone, as a direct result of vehicle occupants wearing their seat belts. That seems like a compelling reason to buckle your seat belt even if it wasn’t “against the law”.

So, save yourself the threat of a ticket, reduce high cost of insurance or, even more importantly, your life. Commit to buckle up every time you get behind the wheel!