What’s the first thing you do when you get into your car? Perhaps you adjust your seat and mirrors. Maybe you turn on the radio or crack open a window. Next, if you’re like most drivers in Maryland, you buckle up.

In general, most motorists in Maryland understand the importance of using seat belts. In fact, our state is in the top 10 for seat belt use nationwide. There are always a few exceptions of course. Some argue that seat belts can cause injury rather than reduce it. This argument is based on the fact that seat belts occasionally induce bruised or cracked ribs after a serious accident on Sunrise Highway or in a crash on the Capital Beltway. Of course, this argument fails to consider that a cracked rib is certainly less life-threatening than a cracked skull from going through the windshield!

In case you’re one of the few who don’t see the need to buckle up, here are a few statistics from the Maryland Highway Safety Office to get you thinking:

  • Motorists are 75 percent less likely to die in a rollover crash when wearing a seat belt.
  • More than 68,100 backseat passengers were involved in Maryland auto accidents in a five-year period from 2007 to 2011.
  • Of the 127 people killed in those accidents, 75 percent of them were not buckled.
  • More than 6,200 people were injured in those same accidents, and those who were not buckled were nearly 70 percent more likely to suffer serious injury.
  • If you refuse to buckle up in the backseat, you are also increasing the risk for serious injury to the driver and front seat passenger by 50 percent.

Whether you agree with seat belt laws or not, you should know that Maryland now requires all drivers and passengers to buckle up at all times in all seats—including adults riding in the back seat. It’s the law. Follow it or pay the price.

For more information on seat belt use and its relation to auto accidents in Prince George’s County and throughout the state, check out our other related articles.