Whether you’re from Baltimore, Annapolis, Columbia or anywhere else in Maryland, as an experienced auto accident lawyer I have a good idea what saves lives and limits injuries when it comes to traffic accidents. Seatbelts would be at the top of my list. It doesn’t matter what kind of vehicle you drive – SUV, pickup truck, luxury automobile or economy car, wearing your seatbelt can make the difference between life and death in the case of a car crash.
A recent police report made it quite clear that seatbelt use is not just a good idea, it’s essential to protecting yourself as a driver or passenger. An object lesson would be the single-vehicle crash that happened last month in Prince Frederick, MD.
According to reports, a man and woman were seriously injured on Sandy Point Road when the vehicle in which they were riding went out of control and hit a tree. The accident happened in the early morning hours of July 1. The Calvert County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Division and Crash Reconstruction Team (CRT) responded soon after to the scene.
A 1997 Mazda Protégé 4-door sedan, driven by 29-year-old Jason Louis Copsey was traveling westbound on Sandy Point Road in the area of Sixes Road. As the vehicle entered a sweeping right turn in the roadway, Copsey apparently lost control of the car and failed to make the turn. Leaving the road, the Mazda crashed into a tree to one side of the road. The impact caused the vehicle to roll over several times.
Rollover accidents are quite dramatic and can result in serious injuries to the occupants, including broken bones and lacerations, as well as head and spine trauma and internal injuries. The results can be worse if the occupants are not wearing their seatbelts. For those who think that airbags do the same job as a seatbelt, this is not usually the case.
In this instance, the front-seat passenger, 38-year-old Heather Lynne Hutchins of Prince Frederick, was wearing her seatbelt and came out of the accident with just minor injuries. However the driver, who was not using his seatbelt at the time of the crash, was partially ejected from the vehicle as it rolled. As a consequence, the man received life-threatening injuries and was transported to Prince Georges County Shock Trauma.
Although alcohol is a suspected factor in this particular crash, the condition of the two occupants shows that wearing a seatbelt will improve your chances of avoiding serious injury during an automobile accident. I always remind my friends and family to buckle up regardless of whether it’s a short trip to the grocery store or a weekend getaway out of state.
Calvert County Sheriff’s Reports, SoMd.com, July 25, 2009