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Seat Belt Statistics

  • In 2008, 64% of the passenger vehicle occupants ages 13 to 15 and 21 to 34 killed in traffic crashes were not using restraints.  These age groups had the highest percentage out of all age groups.

  • Research has shown that lap/shoulder seat belts, when used, reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants by 45% and the risk of moderate-to-critical injury by 50%.

  • Ejection from the vehicle is one of the most injurious events that can happen to a person in a crash.  In fatal crashes in 2008, 77% of passenger vehicle occupants who were totally ejected from the vehicle were killed.

  • Among passenger vehicle occupants over age 4, seat belts saved an estimated 13,250 lives in 2008.  If all passenger vehicle occupants over age 4 had worn seat belts, 17,402 could have been saved.

  • The vast majority of the public 16 and older either strongly agree (88%) or somewhat agree (7%) with the statement “If I were in an accident, I would want to have my seat belt on.”  However, about one-half (47%) of 16- to 20-year olds also agreed with the statement “Seat belts are just as likely to harm you as help you.”

  • About one in five people (19%) either strongly (13%) or somewhat (6%) agreed with the statement “I would feel self-conscious around my friends if I wore a seat belt and they did not.”  However, more than one in four (30%) of 16- to 20-year-olds strongly or somewhat agreed with this statement.

  • Injury avoidance was the most frequent reason given for wearing a seat belt.

  • The most common reasons given by drivers in the 16-20 age group for not wearing seat belts were that they forgot or were driving a short distance.

  • When asked whether they favor front seat belt laws, 66 percent of 16- to 20-year-olds said they favor them “a lot”, and 26 percent said they favor them “some”.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Traffic Safety Facts 2008 Data – Occupant Protection

  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released a Traffic Safety Facts Research Note that explores results from the National Occupant Protection Use Survey. The survey indicates that seat belt use in the United States in 2009 stood at 84 percent, a gain from 83 percent use in 2008.
  • For a passenger who is traveling in the backseat at the time of their car crash, wearing a seat belt is 44% more effective at preventing death than riding unrestrained. For those riding in the rear of vans and sport-utility vehicles (SUVs) during a car crash, rear seat belts are 73% better at preventing fatalities. Keep in mind that victims are not properly restrained in more than one-half of all fatal car crashes.
    Source:  Edgar Snyder and Associates
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