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South Carolina Highway Patrol Urges Drivers to Buckle Up

close-up view of a woman buckling a seatbeltIn Beaufort, Bluffton, Hilton Head, and anywhere in the Lowcountry, a car accident can change your life in the blink of an eye. If you were not wearing your seat belt, you run a much greater risk of a serious injury that can sideline you for weeks, months, or even have lifelong consequences.

The South Carolina Department of Public Safety reports crashes in 2021 claimed the lives of 1,053 people through mid-December. While 699 of those victims were known to have access to seat belts, nearly half were not wearing restraints, exposing themselves to dangerous risks.

Why buckle up? According to the South Carolina Highway Patrol, people have an 88% chance of surviving a crash, no matter how severe, if they are wearing a seat belt. “It’s something that should be automatic when you get in your car,” said Corporal Joe Hovis.

But a National Highway Traffic Safety report finds driving habits, including the wearing of seat belts, have changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. For reasons that are not clear, the agency says fewer people involved in accidents are wearing seat belts when compared to 2019.

Seat belts prevent many injuries

Safety advocates point out that seat belts protect people in several ways. They keep the occupant inside the vehicle instead of being ejected (often fatal), and prevent a high-speed impact with an expanding airbag or with the interior of the vehicle during a rollover. They also noted that seat belts must be worn properly to be effective, with the strap across the middle of your chest and the lap band over your hips. Common injuries suffered by people who fail to buckle up, even at slow speeds in some cases, include injuries to the:

  • Head, such as a fractured skull or traumatic brain injury (e.g., concussion)
  • Legs, knees, and ankles.
  • Arms, wrists, and elbows.
  • Neck, including whiplash.
  • Spine and back, which may cause partial or permanent paralysis.
  • Internal bleeding.
  • Muscles and ligaments.
  • Lungs and other internal organs.
  • Ribs and other bones.

A serious accident can cause loss of limbs, permanent disfigurement, and other life-altering injuries. There are financial consequences, too, from medical expenses to lost income and more.

Injured in an accident? We can help.

If you have been injured in an accident caused by another driver, you may face a long road to recovery. You could be out of work and unable to support your family as your regular bills and medical bills pile up. The driver responsible for your injuries and their insurance company will fight back against your claim. In fact, it is highly likely that they will blame you for the crash. Adding insult to your injuries is an insurance company, fully aware that you are desperate for money, offering a lowball financial settlement in hopes that you will accept it instead of pursuing what you legally deserve for your losses.

At Twenge + Twombley Law Firm, we know your situation can seem overwhelming. That’s why we provide our clients with professional and personalized attention. We will thoroughly investigate your accident to come up with a legal strategy that fits your unique case. By aggressively protecting your rights, we can achieve justice and a fair financial settlement for you and your family. Contact us today for a free consultation with a South Carolina car accident lawyer.

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