In 49 states, including Virginia, drivers can get a severe fine if they’re not wearing a seat belt. Lawmakers throughout the nation have found that if they require motorists and their passengers to wear safety belts, then the use of safety belts goes up and, vehicle-related injuries and fatalities go down.

The fact is, seatbelts save lives; nevertheless, many Manassas residents continue to avoid using them. Here are a few reasons why you should ignore your impulse not to use a seatbelt and buckle up:

— Your chances of death decline by 45 percent when you don your safety belt while riding one of the front seats of a car. They go down by 60 percent if you’re riding in a lightweight truck.

— You might think that the likelihood of getting into a high-speed crash is minimal, but accidents can happen to anyone, and they happen when we least expect them to. Think about the physics, if your car is going 30 mph, you’re going the same speed. If your car collides with another object and comes to a stop, you’ll continue moving forward at 30 mph and whatever you hit will be the same as if you hit it after falling off a three-story structure.

— Thinking about not using a seat belt for a short drive? Think again. Eighty percent of traffic fatalities happen within a 25-mile radius of the individual’s home at relatively modest speeds of 40 mph.

— Seat belts are more lifesaving than airbags. The National Highway Traffic Administration reports that airbags save about 2,396 lives annually while seat belts save 12,802 lives annually.

At the Law Offices of Locklin & Coleman, we have represented numerous plaintiffs in car accident-related lawsuits. Many of these plaintiffs were severely injured and disabled as a result of their car accidents. In some cases, they might have avoided injury altogether if they’d been wearing a seat belt. Still, seat belts are not going to prevent all injuries. If you were hurt in a crash — wearing a seat belt or not — our law firm is available to evaluate your potential personal injury claim in a consultation.