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A Rockford-area girl who was involved in a head-on collision and survived is encouraging others to wear seat belts. She regularly speaks to high-school groups to share her tale. She has been recognized for her efforts with awards from the governor and the National Transportation Safety Highway Administration.

She attributes wearing her seat belt to allowing her to live even though the accident caused facial injuries, a torn knee ligament, a fractured leg, and back injuries.

The research is very clear that seat belts save lives, and everyone should wear one. This young woman’s tale emphasizes that point.

One interesting point in Illinois law is that defendants cannot claim that a plaintiff was contributorily negligent for not wearing a seat belt. The reason for this is that the negligent act — not wearing a seat belt — did not produce the accident itself. Trial court routinely exclude evidence of the failure of the injured party to wear a seat belt.

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