A Great Cause Of Death On Your

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A Great Cause Of Death: On Your Tab Essay, Research Paper In my family, as in many peoples’ families, it has always been tradition to go to the mall on the day after Thanksgiving. The day is usually very predictable. We wake up, have breakfast, go to the mall, walk amongst the large crowds of people, indulge on free samples of chicken, pizza, and ice cream, and sign up for credit cards just to get the free gifts. At least that is what it is usually like. This day, however, was different. It was cold and rainy. My sister and I chose to ride with my aunt in her brand new Toyota Tercel to the mall. On the long ride from Williston to a mall in Gainesville we laughed, joked, and had a good old time – never knowing what was about to occur. As we began to make a left turn off

the main highway and onto a side street, a large object slammed into the rear driver’s side of the vehicle. I ducked as glass began flying throughout the car. Then there was another slam; this time it was from the front passenger side. The car began moving sideways. It flew over the edge and landed in a ditch on the side of the road. We could not begin to imagine what had hit us. It felt like a train, but as we looked before us, we saw a giant log truck was flipped on its side in front of us. Logs from its load had severed the top portion of the truck’s cab. We got out of the car expecting the worst, but much to everyone’s amazement, there were no injuries, thanks to the proper use of seatbelts by the drivers and passengers of both vehicles. Thousands of incidents such as

this have been cited, yet almost a third of the public do not wear seatbelts on a regular basis. The first seatbelts were installed by automobile manufacturers in the 1950s, but seatbelt use was very low – only 10 to 15 percent nationwide. In the early 1980s, from 1984 through 1987, belt use increased from 14 percent to 42 percent, as a result of the passage of seatbelt use laws in 31 States. From 1990 through 1992, belt use increased from 49 percent to 62 percent due to a national effort of highly visible enforcement and public education. Today, the average belt use in the United States is 68 percent, with the highest average per state being California with 87 percent and the lowest being North Dakota with 43 percent. Still, this is not good enough. Especially when it is the

leading cause of death for everyone between the ages of 5 and 27. According to the Florida department of Transportation, in its state alone, 2,811 people died in Motor Vehicle Accidents in 1997. They further stated that of those, over 1,150 were not restrained. Every 14 seconds someone in America is injured in a traffic crash; every 13 minutes someone is killed in a crash. “We cannot tolerate the loss of 40,000 lives on America’s highways” each year (NHTSA). These numbers have to be changed. “Motor vehicle crashes cost us [the American people] more than $150 billion a year” (NHTSA). That is approximately $414 million a day. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has put together a plan to accomplish this. Part of its plan includes creating new

legislation, upgrading existing legislation, and inducing high visibility enforcement. In fact, 63 percent of people ages 16 and older strongly favor seatbelt laws that apply to front seat passengers and drivers and 23 percent somewhat favor them. About three-quarters of those who favor the front seat laws believe that they should apply to back seat adult passengers as well. As far as enforcement of these laws goes, they prefer small, minimum fines for a first offense, but many people favor more substantial fines for multiple offenders. Furthermore, while support for primary enforcement is higher in primary belt law states than in secondary belt law states, most people (52 percent) now support primary enforcement laws. Under “primary” enforcement, a citation can be written