A tragic accident which occurred recently in Washington County, Kentucky, illustrates the important life-saving protection offered by seat belt use.
On Monday, July 11, 2016, a 42-year-old Harrodsburg resident was traveling west on KY 1754 in her Hyundai, along with her 15-year-old daughter and a 16-year-old friend. Among the car’s occupants, only the 15-year-old was wearing a seat belt. According to Kentucky State Police, when the driver reached the intersection with KY 555, she failed to stop and drove into the path of a Nissan traveling north on KY 555. The Nissan collided with the rear driver’s side of the Hyundai. The driver was transported via helicopter to University of Kentucky Medical Center, where she was in stable condition. The 15-year-old was not injured in the crash, nor was the driver of the Nissan. Sadly, the 16-year-old was declared dead at the scene of the accident.
Seat belt use is responsible for preventing thousands of deaths in motor vehicle collisions every year. Kentucky introduced what is known as a “primary enforcement” seat belt law in 2006, which means that Kentucky police can pull someone over merely for failing to use a seat belt in the car. In fact, Kentucky’s seat belt law states that drivers may not operate a car on Kentucky roads “unless the driver and all passengers are wearing a properly adjusted and fastened seat belt.” (Kentucky Revised Statute 189.125, with emphasis added.) After the change in Kentucky’s laws making seat belt use mandatory, the rate of seat belt use increased nearly 20%. Nevertheless, many vehicle occupants continue not to use seat belts, and sometimes pay a high price. Among the 588 motor vehicle fatalities which occurred on Kentucky roads in 2015, 358 of those who died, or 61%, were not wearing seat belts at the time of the crash. In an accident like the recent one in Washington County, a victim’s family may attempt to prove that the driver should face additional liability for the young passenger’s death since the driver was in violation of Kentucky’s rule against operating a motor vehicle if passengers are not using seat belts.
If you have been injured in an accident in Kentucky, get help seeking the compensation you’re owed for lost work, medical costs, and pain and suffering by contacting the skilled and compassionate Richmond personal injury attorneys at Luxon, Patterson & Himes for a consultation on your case, at 859-623-6233.