As we enter 2012 it is a time for new beginnings, and one of the things beginning on New Year's Day is Illinois' more stringent seat belt law. Starting this Sunday, adult passengers in the back-seat of vehicles will be required to buckle up.
The new seatbelt law was passed over the summer, and it gives police the right to stop a vehicle if they see any passenger is not properly restrained. Previously, adults in the back seat were excluded from the seat belt mandate. Fines for violating the law start at $25.
James Doherty, the medical director of trauma and critical care at Christ Medical Center, has seen the consequences of unrestrained passengers getting into car accidents. He explained that unbuckled riders "can be thrown from the vehicle," causing severe head and abdominal injuries. "It's a public safety issue that trumps personal decision-making," he stated.
Drivers and passengers should make sure their shoulder restraint is placed in front of them and their belt is properly adjusted. Extensions are also available for those who need longer belts.
There will be certain exemptions from the law including passengers in some delivery trucks, emergency vehicles, taxis, buses and those in vehicles manufactured in 1965 or before.
Seat belts reduce the risk of serious injury or death from motor vehicle collisions by roughly 50 percent, according to information from the Centers for Disease Control. Although most people are aware of the benefits of seat belts, many motorists still neglect wear one. Hopefully this new law will encourage more people buckle up.
Source: The Herald News, Back-seat riders required to buckle up starting Sunday, Donna Vickroy, 27 December 2011