You may have heard it all your life, the familiar “Put your seatbelt on,” or “Buckle up! It’s the law!” But while it may come naturally to you, there are still a devastating amount of people who don’t put safety first and buckle their seatbelts. Adult seat belt use is the most effective way to save lives and reduce injuries in crashes, yet millions of adults do not wear their seat belts on every trip. Here is some information to put the issue in perspective:
How big is the problem of crash-related injuries and death?
• More than 2.3 million adult drivers and passengers were treated in emergency departments as the result of being injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2013
• The lifetime costs of crash-related deaths and injuries among drivers and passengers were $70 billion in 2005.
• Young adults (18-24) have the highest crash-related injury rates of all adults.
What is the impact of seat belt use?
• Seat belts reduce serious crash-related injuries and deaths by about 50%.
• Air bags provide added protection but are not a substitute for seat belts. Air bags plus seat belts provide the greatest protection for adults.
Who is least likely to wear a seat belt?
• Adults age 18-34 are less likely to wear seat belts than adults 35 or older.
• Men are 10% less likely to wear seat belts than women.
• Adults who live in rural areas are 10% less likely to wear seat belts (78% use) than adults who live in urban and suburban areas (87% use).
• Seat belt use is lower in states with secondary enforcement seat belt laws or no seat belt laws (79%) compared to states with primary enforcement laws (88%).
What can be done to increase seat belt use among adults?
When it comes to increasing seat belt use, individuals, government, and health professionals can help promote safety.