Georgia is one of 20 states that don’t require adults in the back seats of vehicles to buckle up. Safety advocates say many people are paying with their lives. In 2017, 44% of the 1,057 people who died in crashes on Georgia roads were not wearing seat belts. Nationwide, 43% of people who died in crashes were not buckled up.
It’s hard to imagine that this is the case, but Georgia first started regulating seat belts in 1988, only requiring front-seat occupants to buckle up. The law has been altered over the years — slowly adding specifications that allowed police to cite someone spotted not wearing a seat belt and required minors and those riding in pickups to be restrained. For many years, pickup trucks were specifically excluded from the seat belt laws, presumably to help farm workers, but the rationale makes no sense, as they could have passed the seat belt laws and simply excluded farm workers while they were working on the farm from the new laws.
Pick-up truck drivers and passengers in Georgia are now required to wear seat belts. Georgia is the last state to adopt pick-up truck seat belt laws. The upgraded seatbelt laws came were gradual over time and accompanied the Georgia General Assembly’s decision to increase speed limits on rural interstates, according to the Georgia State Patrol. Seat belt usage has increased 30% since the laws have been tightened, and this is a great development for Georgia driver safety.
Whether an injured driver was wearing a seatbelt when injured is always a “hot topic” for defensen lawyers during deposition of the plaintiff in car wreck cases. But, since whether the driver was wearing a seat belt or not is inadmissible at trial under the Georgia code of evidence, it really is much adieu over nothing. However, my advice to any driver, young or old is to always wear you seat belt. Since the laws have expanded to back seat passengers and pick up trucks, this advice now extends to any occupants of a moving vehicle. If you are in a car, or pickup truck, wear your seat belt.
Everyone has been told stories about a grandmother who died because they DID wear their seatbelt because they were trapped in a car and could not escape or some similar story. But, the overwhelming evidence is clear: Seat belts save lives. Most people die during an accident when they are not wearing seat belts, are thrown from the car and either hit a stationary object (such as an overpass) or are struck by oncoming traffic. The outcome is too dicey. Buckle up for safety.
For over 25 years, Attorney Robert J. Fleming has been handling personal injury, dental malpractice and medical malpractice lawsuits for individuals and families who have been injured or died as a result of the negligence of others in the Atlanta, Georgia area. He is a partner in the law firm of Katz Wright & Fleming, LLC and regularly handles cases in Atlanta as well as Alpharetta, Brookhaven, Chamblee, College Park, Duluth, Decatur, Doraville, Johns Creek, Jonesboro, Lawrenceville, Norcross, Peachtree City, Riverdale, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Stone Mountain, Smyrna, Peachtree City, and other cities in Georgia. He is committed to making a difference in his clients’ lives. If you or family member has been seriously injured or died as a result of negligence and would like quality legal representation or if you would just like to consult about a potential case, contact Robert J. Fleming directly on (404) 525-5150 or contact us online.