On May 23, 2015 Nobel Prize winning Mathematician John Nash and his wife Alicia were killed in a car accident on the New Jersey Turnpike. If you recall, Nash was the subject of the Oscar winning movie “A Beautiful Mind” starring Russell Crowe.
Nash and his wife were in the backset of a taxi and not wearing their seat belts at the time of the accident and the force of the accident caused them to be ejected from the vehicle. This is another sad reminder of the importance of wearing seat belts. Roughly 40,000 people die each year in car accidents and car accidents are the leading cause of death in people under the age of 35.
The back of a taxi or limousine is not a safer place to be than the front seat of your own vehicle yet people rarely reach for a seat belt in the rear of a taxi. Unlike the rear of your recently manufactured car, the rear seat of a taxi cab, given the partition and hard wall divider, seems like an incredibly unforgiving surface to come in contact with when not utilizing the seat belt.
There is no good excuse to not wearing a seat belt. Some reason that they were traveling such a short distance and so close to home and therefore didn’t think it was necessary to put their seat belt on. This reasoning is flawed. 80% of traffic deaths occur within 25 miles of home and at speed limits less than 40 miles per hour.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that over 2 million adult drivers are treated in hospital emergency rooms each year due to car accidents and account for over $50 billion in medical and wage loss costs each year. While air bags will provide added protection to drivers they are not a substitute for seat belts.
The biggest violators of seat belt laws are teenagers. Adults age 18-34 are much less likely to wear their seat belt than adults above the age of 35. Further, more than half of traffic accident deaths each year involved people not wearing their seat belt.
Please remember to wear your seat belt whether you are driving your car or in the back seat of a taxi. Please remember to wear your seat belt whether you are taking a road trip with the family or driving 30 seconds down the street to run a quick errand. If for no other reason, it’s the law. For information on laws in each state, check with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety website.
If you or a family or friend were involved in a car accident, please call our office for a free consultation so we can discuss your rights and how best to handle your injury claim. There is no charge for speaking with one of our experienced attorneys so call us at (312) 422-0500.