What Drivers and Passengers Need to Know About Seat Belt Laws in Greenville, South Carolina

car crash attorney seat belt law in Greenville SC

Over the years, there have been plenty of myths surrounding the use of seat belts in Greenville, South Carolina, and throughout the rest of South Carolina. For example, some people still think that the back seat is safer than the front seat, and that seat belts should not be necessary in the back seat. Others still believe that seat belts do more harm than good because there have been occasions where they have caused damage. It is important to understand that seat belts save far more lives than they take, and that they are designed to be safe and protective when used correctly. Further, it is just as important for back seat passengers to wear their seat belts, and this is not just true for children. To minimize the trauma of any Greenville, South Carolina, auto accident, we have primary enforceable seat belt laws. As the laws have changed over time, the following information will ensure that you know what the current laws are.

Primary Enforceable Seat Belt Laws in Greenville, South Carolina

While some states only require front seat passengers to wear a seat belt, further perpetuating the myth that the back seat is safe enough to not need one, South Carolina law requires all occupants of the vehicle to wear one. In the past, seat belt laws were secondary, meaning that the police could not pull you over for not wearing a seat belt, but could issue a citation for this if they had pulled you over for another reason. In 2005, the law changed, and it is now a primary law found at South Carolina Code Sections 56-5-6520 and 56-5-6540. This means that the police can pull you over if they see that you are not wearing one, and they do not have to have any other good reason for doing so. The previous laws were also focused on children under the age of 18. The current laws apply to anyone of any age, though the driver is responsible for the minors in their vehicle. 

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Violating the Seat Belt Laws in Greenville, South Carolina, Will Result in Fines and Penalties

If you violate the seat belt laws in Greenville, South Carolina, you will face a fine of $25 for the first offense. There will be no court costs or other charges. For subsequent offenses or multiple seat belt law violations, you may be charged up to $50. These violations are not reported against your permanent driving record, are not considered a criminal record either, and will not impact your auto insurance coverage. If your vehicle is stopped at a check point, then the officer may request that you and others put on your seat belts, but will only issue a citation if anyone refuses.

How Primary Enforcement Seat Belt Laws Save Lives in Greenville, South Carolina

To understand the benefit and purpose of primary enforcement seat belt laws in Greenville, South Carolina, we need to look at the actual statistics. For instance, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, reports that the use of seat belts increases by an estimated 11% in states that have primary enforcement seat belt laws. More specifically, the State of South Carolina reported an 11.8% increase in seat belt use between the time that the primary enforcement seat belt laws were put in place in 2005 and four years later in 2009. In 2005, 69.7% of South Carolinians wore their seat belts in moving vehicles. In 2009, that percentage rose to 81.5%. These statistics, combined with the 50% greater likelihood of surviving an auto accident while wearing a seat belt, show that lives are being saved by the primary enforcement seat belt laws of South Carolina.

How Wearing a Seat Belt Can Save Your Life in a Greenville, South Carolina, Auto Accident

There are a few reasons that you are 50% more likely to survive an auto accident in Greenville, South Carolina, if you are wearing a seat belt. For one thing, your seat belt prevents you from being thrown from the vehicle. If worn correctly, the seat belt also ensures that the strongest parts of your body absorb the majority of the force of any collision while also spreading that force in such a way that no single body part absorbs all of the force. Your seat belt also helps your body to slow more gradually in a collision than it otherwise would, reducing your likelihood of serious injury. This protects your spinal cord and your head from injuries that might otherwise be fatal. Seat belts do not guarantee you won’t be injured in a collision but wearing a one greatly diminishes the likelihood of serious injury or death.

The Importance of Wearing Your Seat Belt Correctly in Greenville, South Carolina

All of the benefits of wearing a seat belt are generally only realistic when you wear the seat belt correctly. This means that you must not place the shoulder strap behind you or allow the lap strap to press into your lower belly. The shoulder strap needs to cross your body at the chest area, not the stomach, the neck, or under the arm. The lap strap needs to go across your lower pelvis, touching your thighs. If you are pregnant, then the shoulder strap should cross your body above the belly, and the lap strap should be worn below your abdomen. In cases where the shoulder strap does not cross your body in the right place, you may need to adjust it. It also needs to be fairly tight and should not slide down your shoulder. When it comes to children, if the shoulder strap does not cross the body correctly, then they may be too short and may require a booster seat for correct seat belt use.

Recovering Compensation After a Greenville, South Carolina, Auto Accident

If you have been injured or lost a loved one to a Greenville, South Carolina auto accident, regardless of whether or not you or anyone else was wearing a seat belt, you may be able to recover compensation from the at-fault driver. Contact the Greenville, South Carolina, auto accident attorneys at Double Aught Injury Lawyers to schedule a FREE consultation and learn more about your options.