In the U.S., vehicles have been required to include seat belts since 1968. In many states, drivers are now required to use the seat belts or risk a fine or traffic citation. It’s a safety measure that has been successful in reducing traffic fatalities — it’s estimated that nearly 15,000 lives were saved in 2017 alone because of seat belt use.
While the national belt use rate was 90.7% as of 2019, there are still many people who don’t use belts. More than half of all people age 13 to 44 who died in car crashes in 2018 were not buckled up.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggests wearing a seat belt at all times, even on short hops down the street. Most deadly crashes happen at speeds under 40 miles an hour.
Each time you put your seat belt on, or secure one in place for a child, make sure it is positioned correctly. The belt should go across the pelvis and rib cage, and not cut into the neck. Both the lap and shoulder strap need to fit securely and sit in the right place on your body; if you’re not both safe and comfortable, you’re likely to stop using the seat belt entirely.
The CDC reports that men under age 25 who do not live in metropolitan areas — and people sitting in the back seat of vehicles — are the least likely to wear a seat belt. One recommendation is for more visible and enforceable laws to encourage use, but there are things drivers can do themselves to make their passengers safer in the car. And they are simple:
We offer insurance coverage for drivers to protect their vehicle if it’s damaged or a complete loss, called Personal Auto insurance. We’re interested in making sure our policyholders, their families, and their friends, come home safely every time.
What's the best way to get drivers to buckle up in your car? Let me know in the comments!
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