Seat Belts and Passenger Occupant Safety

Passenger occupant safety is an important topic for drivers and passengers in California and across the U.S. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) the national seat belt usage rate is only 87 percent. That means about 27.5 million people aren’t buckling up. When drivers and passenger vehicle occupants don’t buckle up, they run the risk of becoming ejected from the vehicle in the event of a crash. Buckling up is the single most effective way to protect yourself and your loved ones in the event of a wreck.

Passenger Occupant Safety Facts

• In 2012, of the 21,667 people who were killed in crashes, more than half were not wearing their seatbelts.
• More motorists who are killed in night-time crashes are unrestrained than those who are killed in daytime crashes.
• Half of motor vehicle occupants who died in crashes while seated in the front seats were unrestrained and 61 percent of occupants in the back seats were unrestrained.
• In 2012, seat belts are estimated to have saved 12,174 lives.
• In the past five years, seat belts have saved nearly 63,000 lives.

Children as Passenger Occupants

Children are especially vulnerable as passenger occupants. Parents should always make sure their children are properly restrained while riding in motor vehicles. Age and size-appropriate child seats are necessary for small children, and the back seat is always the safest location for child passengers.

Occupants Killed who were Completely Unrestrained at the Time of the Crash

• Three in five young occupants (21 to 24 years old)
• Three in five teen occupants (13 to 15 years old)
• One in two young tweens (8 to 12 years old)
• Two in five children (4 to 7 years old)

Buckle up, Every Trip

Some drivers and passenger occupants get into the habit of only buckling up when they’re taking longer trips. They don’t think seat belts are necessary for short trips, but nothing could be further from the truth. A motor vehicle accident could happen in your own neighborhood. Cars don’t have to be traveling 70 miles per hour on the highway to cause deadly wrecks. Rear seat passengers should be reminded to buckle up too because they can easily become projectiles in the event of a crash. Buckle up for every trip and always make sure children are properly restrained for safe roadway travels.

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