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Seat Belts and Auto Accident Injuries

In 37 years as a personal injury lawyer in Keene, NH, I’ve seen a lot of needless suffering.

Seat belt use is one of the safest choices a driver or passenger can make according to the National Highway Transportation & Safety Administration ( NHTSA). NHTSA reports that seat belt use can reduce the risk of a fatal injury by 45% and moderate to critical injuries by 50%.

In their 2021 Highway Safety plan, New Hampshire Office of Highway Safety (NHOHS) reports a disturbing trend of decreasing seatbelt usage rate.  The seatbelt usage rate has decreased from 76% of vehicle occupants to 71% between 2018 and 2019, which is in line with the five-year trend. This is alarmingly lower than the 2019 national average of 90.7%.

New Hampshire vehicle occupants younger than 18 are required to wear seat belts and child restraint systems, however, we are the only state that does not legally require adults over the age of 18 to wear a seat belt. Even though its not required, it is the smart and safe choice.

In 2019, 37 of the 90 fatalities in New Hampshire auto crashes were unrestrained drivers.

You can still hire an auto accident lawyer or personal injury attorney to make a claim for damages if you are injured in a car accident and are not wearing a seat-belt.

Allow me to suggest, however, that it’s better to wear your seatbelt, if not for yourself then for others in the car. If there’s a crash and you are not properly restrained, you could land on top of another vehicle occupant and cause serious injury. It’s not worth the risk. Be safe. Buckle up.


If you or a loved one have been injured in an auto accident, call Donahue Law at (603) 357-2363 or message me at the bottom of this page. I recognize every impact of an auto accident – financial, mental, and physical and am determined to make sure that the insurance company does too so you get the best outcome possible after one of your life’s most trying times.

It costs nothing to meet with me and I don’t get paid until you win. 


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