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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates seat-belt use reduces serious injuries by approximately 50 percent and fatalities nearly 70 percent. At a minimum, seatbelts can prevent an occupant from being or ejected from the vehicle.  Regardless, millions of people continue to consciously get on America’s roadways without buckling up.

Eight people died on Missouri roadways alone over the Memorial Day weekend. What did all eight have in common?  Although driver distraction, speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol, or inexperience may have played a role in these accidents, the fatalities may have been avoided if the deceased were wearing seatbelts.

While some auto accidents are so devastating that no amount of safety equipment could have saved a driver or passengers, seatbelts continue to be the single most effective protection device in your vehicle.  It is sometimes difficult to fathom that a piece of fabric can be a vital difference between life and death, but the evidence is overwhelming.

Choosing not to wear a seat belt not only increases the risk of injury or death, but also the risk of substantial medical expenses and possibly an increase in insurance costs.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2009 more than 2.3 million drivers and passengers were treated in emergency rooms for motor vehicle crash-related injuries.  In 2012, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that safety belts saved approximately 12,000 lives and, had all drivers and passengers used safety belts, an estimated 3,000 deaths could have been prevented.  Additionally, if you are facing a lawsuit against a negligence party, recovery can be substantially reduced because without a safety belt, it may be determined that you contributed to your injuries or your loved one contributed his/her death.

The facts and figures don’t lie; seatbelts DO save lives – yours, your mother, father, sister, brother, grandma, grandpa, cousin, aunt, uncle, and good friend. Don’t start your vehicle until EVERYONE has buckled up.

Mark Bello has thirty-seven years experience as a trial lawyer and fifteen years as a leading expert in the lawsuit funding industry.  His company, Lawsuit Financial Corporation, provides necessities of life funding to plaintiffs involved in pending, personal injury, litigation. He is a Member, Justice Pac Member, and Sustaining Member of numerous state and national justice associations.

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