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The evolution of seat belt laws in Alabama has been a long and complex journey. The benefits of wearing a seatbelt while in a moving vehicle are never-ending and have been shown to not only lessen the impact of accidents but also save lives.

Here at Barfoot & Schoettker we care about the safety of our clients. We know that insurance companies and other parties involved in cases may make it appear that no compensation should be awarded, but we want to evaluate your case to fight for any compensation that you deserve. We want to ensure that compensation is given when necessary and believe that a seatbelt should not stand in the way.

History

While seatbelts were not always required, each state now has laws to ensure that all passengers, of all ages are protected while traveling in a moving vehicle. According to Alabama Public Health, the beginning of seatbelt laws in the state date back to 1982:

  • 1982: Children under the age of three must be equipped with a federal motor systems approved child passenger restraint system
  • 1991: If the car is manufactured with seatbelts, the front seat occupant must have it properly fastened while the vehicle is in motion. Not using the seatbelt is a secondary offense
  • 1999: the secondary offense associated with the 1991 law changed to a primary offense
  • 2006: Children under the age of 15 must utilize a restraint system
  • 2019: All passengers, both front and back seat, are required to utilize a seat belt
Seatbelt Safety

Seatbelts are there for a reason. While you may not think that you will get into a serious accident just down the road from your house or in general, there is always a chance and a seat belt can be the difference between life and death. Alabama Public Health states that:

  • When used correctly, seat belts reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passengers by 45% and the risk of moderate to critical injury by 50%
  • Every hour someone dies in America because they were not wearing a seat belt
  • A common cause of death and injury to children is being crushed by unbelted adults
What if you failed to wear a seatbelt?

According to Alabama Code 2018 32-5B-7, Failure to wear a safety belt in violation of this chapter shall not be considered evidence of contributory negligence and shall not limit the liability of an insurer, nor shall the conviction be entered on the driving record of any individual charged under the provisions of this chapter.

Simply put, this means that if an individual does not wear their seatbelt, it can not necessarily be used against them as evidence of contributory negligence. It also can not be used against the plaintiff as evidence of the plaintiff’s failure to mitigate damages.

What does this mean?

So, while you should always wear a seat belt as a safety precaution, not wearing a seat belt does not limit the liability of the insurer and is not evidence of contributory negligence.

Here at Barfoot & Schoettker our professionals approach each case as their own. We understand that no two cases are alike and want to ensure that you receive the proper compensation. We have experience dealing with cases of all types including those dealing with car accidents.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident and feel that compensation should be served, don’t let insurance companies or the other party try to stop you from inquiring. Contact us today so we can thoroughly evaluate your case and determine the best next steps.

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