Seat Belts Save Lives

If someone told you there’s a secret to significantly cutting your chance of a fatal injury in a motor vehicle crash, you’d want to know it, right?

It’s called a seat belt. Spread the word.

In the instant you buckle up before driving or riding in the front seat of a car or truck, you cut your risk of a fatal injury in a crash nearly in half. That’s a huge return on the investment of the mere seconds it takes to put on a seat belt.

NHTSA and law enforcement want you to wear your seat belt — every ride, every time, whether in the front seat or back, day and night — because seat belts save lives. That’s why we’re again teaming up for our annual Click It or Ticket national mobilization to increase awareness and belt use.

From May 21 to June 3, State and local law enforcement agencies across the country are stepping up enforcement to encourage seat belt use. On May 21, States will kick off the campaign with Border to Border (B2B), a 1-day national seat belt awareness event that focuses seat belt enforcement along heavily traveled, highly visible State border checkpoints. It includes a four-hour enforcement crackdown from 4–8 p.m. to address nighttime belt use, as that is when seat belt use is at its lowest.

Thanks to education and effective enforcement of State seat belt laws, we recently achieved an all-time record high nationwide seat belt use rate of 90 percent. Now we need to reach those holdouts — 1 out of 10 Americans — who are hanging on to some very dangerous misconceptions about safety and seat belts.

Size Isn’t Safer. If you’re not buckled, being in a pickup or other large vehicle isn’t safer. In fact, 61 percent of pickup truck occupants who were killed in 2016 were not buckled up. That’s compared to 42 percent of passenger car occupants who were not wearing seat belts when they were killed. Big truck or small car, seat belts are the safest bet.

Back Seat? Buckle Up, Too. Too many people wrongly believe they are safe in the back seat unrestrained. Forty-seven percent of all front-seat passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in 2016 were unrestrained, but 57 percent of those killed in back seats were unrestrained. If you’re in the back, you should be buckled up, too.

Dangerously Unbelted in Rural America. People who live in rural areas might believe that their crash exposure is lower, but in 2016, there were 13,732 passenger vehicle fatalities in rural locations, compared to 9,366 fatalities in urban locations. Out of those fatalities, 49 percent of those killed in the rural locations were not wearing their seat belts, compared to 46 percent in urban locations. Whether on busy city streets or a dusty rural road, buckle up to stay safe.

In 2016 alone, seat belts saved nearly 15,000 lives. That’s great news. But if everyone involved in a crash had been wearing seat belts in 2016, we could have saved an additional 2,500 lives. NHTSA and State and local law enforcement are committed to increasing seat belt use because seat belts save lives. That’s why law enforcement will be handing out tickets during Click It or Ticket. We want you wearing seat belt; you don’t want a ticket. Let’s make everyone happy, and more importantly, let’s keep everyone safe, by always buckling up.