The federal government reports that seat belt use in the United States has reached its highest level since regular national surveys began in 1994. How much of a difference does seat belt use matter? Keep reading to find out.
The latest data comes from a study by the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). It shows that daytime belt use reached 90.1 percent, up from 88.5 percent, in 2015. Even with higher use, NHTSA notes that nearly half (48 percent) of people killed in crashes in 2015 were not wearing their belts. When used properly, lap/shoulder belts reduce the risk of death to front-seat passenger or car occupants by 45 percent. And belts reduce the risk of moderate-to-critical injury by 50 percent.
Seat belts saved nearly 14,000 lives during 2015 and an estimated 375,000 lives since 1975. NHTSA credits state legislators for enacting strong laws, and the nation’s police officers for strong enforcement of those laws.