seat belt safetyThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been highlighting the importance of seat belt safety. The “Click It or Ticket” campaign is helping to raise awareness about seat belt usage. Over the last five years, more than 3 million seat belt citations have been issued during the two week “Click It or Ticket” enforcement period.

Here are some seat belt safety statistics that can be found on NHTSA’s website:

  • If all passengers age 5 and older had worn seat belts, an additional 3,031 people could have been saved in 2012-nearly twice the lives lost on the Titanic.
  • 61% of passenger vehicle occupants killed at night were unbuckled.
  • Of all passenger vehicle occupants ejected from their vehicles in fatal crashes, 79% suffered fatal injuries.

The website also addresses common misconceptions regarding seat belt safety:

  • MYTH: If your car has airbags you don’t need a seat belt.
  • FACT: Wearing a seat belt is always the safest option whether the vehicle has or does not have airbags.
  • MYTH: Seat belts can trap you in a fire or underwater.
  • FACT: Incidents involving fire or water account for ½ of 1 percent of all crashes. But more importantly, you can’t escape such dangers unless you’re conscious. Wearing a seat belt gives you a much greater chance of being conscious and able-bodied.
  • MYTH: If you’re not going far or traveling fast seat belts aren’t necessary.
  • FACT: Most fatal crashes happen within 25 miles from home and at speeds of less than 40 mph.
  • MYTH: Your seat belt can hurt you in a crash.
  • FACT: In a crash, everything in your car can cause you harm – your seat belt is one of the few things that can actually save you.
  • MYTH: Riding in a pick-up truck automatically makes you safer than everyone else.
  • FACT: For SUV, pickup, and van occupants, seat belts reduce the risk of fatal injury to the driver and front seat passenger by 60 percent.
  • MYTH: It’s not as essential for guys to wear seat belts; they’re much better drivers.
  • FACT: Young men are most at risk. Among passenger vehicle occupants, men ages 18-34, who were killed in fatal crashes, 65% were not buckled.

Get involved and follow the law. Practicing seat belt safety is a good habit to get into and leading by example is a great way to get children to follow the rules. Speak up. If you get into a vehicle with another passenger who doesn’t buckle up, ask him or her to do so. 9 out of 10 people who are asked to wear a seat belt will.