Consequences of Not Wearing Seat Belts
Of the 37,461 people killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2016, 48 percent were not wearing seat belts. In 2016 alone, seat belts saved an estimated 14,668 lives and could have saved an additional 2,456 people if they had been wearing seat belts.
The consequences of not wearing, or improperly wearing, a seat belt are clear:
1. Buckling up helps keep you safe and secure inside your vehicle, whereas not buckling up can result in being totally ejected from the vehicle in a crash, which is almost always deadly.
2. Air bags are not enough to protect you; in fact, the force of an air bag can seriously injure or even kill you if you’re not buckled up.
3. Improperly wearing a seat belt, such as putting the strap below your arm, puts you and your children at risk in a crash.
The benefits of buckling up are equally clear:
If you buckle up in the front seat of a passenger car, you can reduce your risk of:
- Fatal injury by 45 percent (Kahane, 2015)
- Moderate to critical injury by 50 percent
If you buckle up in a light truck, you can reduce your risk of:
- Fatal injury by 60 percent (Kahane, 2015)
- Moderate to critical injury by 65 percent (NHTSA, 1984)