The problem of low safety belt use:
- A safety belt does not protect you when it’s not worn properly2.
- You can be ticketed for not wearing a safety belt – even if you are sitting in the back seat. If you are in a state that does not have a primary seat belt law (police can’t pull you over just for not wearing a seat belt) check to verify if there is a law that requires anyone under the age of 18 to be buckled up. Visit here for more seat belt laws.
- Seat belts saved an estimated 14,955 lives in 2017 and an additional 2,549 lives could have been saved with 100% seatbelt use.1.
- Roughly 2 out of every 4 teenagers involved in a fatal crash were not wearing a seat belt including drivers and passengers1.
- In fatal crashes, teen drivers were more likely to be buckled up than teen passengers (49% vs 35%). Overall, passengers have lower rates of seat belt use for all ages1.
Overall seat belt use is improving among teens. In 2017, 5.9% of teens (down from 7.6% in 2013) reported never or rarely wearing a seat belt recently, a 20 percent decrease since 19913.
- When referring to safety belts, “properly worn” means with both straps snugly fitted to transfer the impact of the collision to the parts of your body that can take it – your hipbones and shoulder bones. With just the shoulder strap on, you can slide out from under the seat belt and be strangled, while the lap belt alone doesn’t keep your face from hitting the steering wheel5.
- A safety belt is your best and last protection if you are in a crash.
- During a crash, being buckled up helps keep you safe and secure inside your vehicle. Being thrown out of a vehicle is almost always deadly3.
- Airbags are designed to work with safety belts, not replace them. In fact, if you don’t wear your seat belt, you could be thrown into an opening airbag and be injured or even killed2.
- Get in the habit of always putting your safety belt on every time you get into a vehicle. No matter where you are sitting or the distance you are going.
- Ask your passengers to buckle up also. You are responsible for their safety.
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Traffic Safety Facts, Occupant Protection in Passenger Vehicles, 2017, https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/seat-belts#:~:text=Many%20Americans%20understand%20the%20lifesaving,estimated%2014%2C955%20lives%20in%202017
- Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
- Teen Driver Source, https://www.teendriversource.org/teen-crash-risks-prevention/rules-of-the-road/seat-belt-use-facts-and-stats
- Center for Disease Control, (2015). Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance, U.S.
- Oklahoma State University