Could a Seat Belt Have Made a Difference?
Bob Simon, the popular 60 Minutes reporter who covered every overseas conflict in his five-decade career, was killed Wednesday evening in a terrible car wreck. The crash occurred in New York City around 6:45 p.m. on Wednesday. The 73-year-old journalist was a passenger in a livery cab that rear-ended another car on the West Side Highway in Manhattan. The taxi driver lost control of the vehicle and slammed into metal barriers that separated the north and south bound traffic lanes.
Mr. Simon suffered trauma to his head and torso and was found unconscious at the scene. He died at the hospital a short while later.
Shockingly, it has been now revealed that the taxi driver had nine driver’s license suspensions and only used one hand while he was driving due to a “dead left arm” from a suicide attempt. The man, a refugee from Afghanistan, lived in a homeless shelter. Abdue Fedal may have accidentally hit the gas pedal after side-swiping a car while he was driving 55 miles per hour in a zone restricted to 35.
Seat Belts Save Lives
In New York City, livery cab passengers are not required to wear seat belts and often do not. Unfortunately, Mr. Simon was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the car crash. A seat belt might have saved his life. Much attention is paid to front seat passengers, but back seat passengers should also buckle up.
According to the National Organization for Youth Safety (NOYS), more than one-half of occupants who die in car crashes are unrestrained. Passengers who wear their seat belts while riding in the back of a vehicle are 44 percent less likely to die in an accident than those who are unrestrained. Seat belts are 73 percent effective for rear seat passengers of SUVs and vans.
Texas has Primary Enforcement Laws, But Not in Back Seats
Texas has primary enforcement laws governing front seat passengers and children under age 17 in all seats that are equipped with restraining devices. This means law enforcement officers have authority to issue citations for occupants not wearing seat belts in the front seats, and much more expensive tickets for unrestrained kids in any seat. However, adults can use their own discretion while travelling in the back of a vehicle.
Remember to buckle up, even if you are in the back seat of your car — especially if you are in a taxi cab!