Seat Belt Usage

SEAT BELT USAGE RATE FOR WOOD COUNTY  IS CURRENTLY 81%

Buckling up is the most important safety measure you can take to protect yourself in a crash as it helps keep you safe and secure inside your vehicle.  Seat belts are also the best defense against impaired, aggressive, and distracted drivers.

According to NHTSA, the overall seat belt use rate in 2014 was 87 percent.  Research has found that lap/shoulder seat belts, when used properly, reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants by 45 percent and the risk of moderate-to-critical injury by 50 percent. In light trucks, seat belts reduce the risk of fatal injury by 60 percent and moderate-to-critical injury by 65 percent.


Primary seat belt laws are very effective in increasing seat belt usage. These laws have been shown to increase a state’s seat belt use rate by an average of 10 percentage points resulting in a decrease of injuries and fatalities.  Currently, there are 34 states and the District of Columbia that have front seat primary seat belt laws on the books.  New Hampshire is the one state that has no seat belt law for people over age 18.  Seat belt laws in the remaining 15 states are secondarily enforced, meaning police officers must stop the vehicle for another violation before they can issue a seat belt ticket.  According to 2014 NHTSA data, states with primary enforcement laws averaged 90 percent safety belt use while states with secondary enforcement laws averaged about 79 percent use.  Certain high-risk groups may have lower usage rates.


Too Many Motorists Are Dying

  • Young adults are dying at a disproportionate rate because they are not wearing seat belts. Sixty-two percent of 18- to 34-year-old passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes were not wearing their seat belts.
  • Those who drive and ride in pickup trucks may think that their large vehicle will protect them more than other vehicles in a crash. This false sense of security may cause them to not wear seat belts, but the stats show that this bravado is misplaced. Sixty-six percent of pickup truck occupants who were killed were not buckled up. That’s compared to 45 percent of car occupants who were killed while not wearing seat belts.
  • More men than women die every year in motor vehicle traffic crashes. In 2012, 65 percent of the 21,667 passenger vehicle occupants killed were men. Men also wore their seat belts less than women in fatal crashes – 56 percent of men were unrestrained, compared to 43 percent for women.
Source: AAA