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Safety belts important in saving children's lives

A recent study that examined statistics on auto accident fatalities for children 15 and younger found that West Virginia had the fifth-highest child mortality rate per 100,000 children at 2.16. The study, which was conducted by researchers at Harvard and UT Southwestern Medical Center, identified the South as the region with the highest number of child traffic fatalities. From 2010 to 2014, the years of the study, 1,550 children in the South died. The Northeast had the lowest death rate with 189 fatalities.

The study identified restraints as a major factor in whether a child might survive an accident. In one out of five of the fatal accidents, children were unrestrained or improperly restrained. Over 230 children's lives could be saved every year if proper use of seat belts increased by just 10 percent. According to one of the researchers, examining the statistics by state revealed the importance of consistently enforced regulations.

The study also found that most crashes happened on rural roads and when vehicles were traveling at speeds between 45 to 60 mph. In about 9 percent of cases, a driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

A car crash does not have to be fatal in order to be devastating. People may suffer injuries that require months or years of recovery. A crash victim may want to work with an attorney who could negotiate adequate compensation with the necessary insurance companies. Another option might be a lawsuit against the driver who is responsible. This may be possible whether or not the at-fault driver faced criminal charges.

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