Here are the ugly statistics:
- Unbelted passengers are 30 times more likely to be thrown from a car from a car in an accident than belted passengers.
- If you are thrown from a moving car in an accident, you have only a 1 in 4 chance of surviving.
- Unrestrained passengers in a crash at just 30 miles per hour are thrown forward with a force equal to up to 60 times their own body weight.
- Car safety features are not designed to work if you aren't wearing a seatbelt.
Seat belt use saves lives.
Seat belt use is a proven lifesaver. Consider:
- For drivers and front-seat passengers in passenger cars, using a lap and shoulder belt reduces the risk of fatal injury by 45 percent, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Loss Data Institute.
- For drivers and front-seat passengers in SUVs and vans, the lap and shoulder belt use reduces the risk of fatal injury in a crash by as much as 60 percent.
- Today, about drivers use seat belts about 90.1 percent of the time. But if everyone used seat belts all the time, on every trip, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates that another 2,800 lives would have been saved.
- The Center for Disease Control estimates that seat belts reduce serious crash-related injuries by half.
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that seat belts likely saved 12,802 lives of car occupants age 5 and older in 2014 alone.
- Child restraints are estimated to have saved another 252 lives of passengers ages 4 and under in that same year.
- The number of lives saved due to seat belt use has been consistently over 12,000 per year every year since at least 2010, according to the NHTSA's National Center for Statistics.
- The number of lives of children ages 4 and under saved each year thanks to the use of child restraints in motor vehicles has been over 255 every year and was over 300 in the year 2010.
- Air bags also save lives, but they are not a substitute for seat belts, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Buckle up, even if you have air bags.
- Lead by example. Studies have shown that if one passenger or the driver buckles his or her seat belt, other passengers are more likely to follow suit.
- Children ages 12 and under should sit in the back seat, properly buckled up.
- Place children in the middle of the back seat, if possible. Statistically, it is the safest spot in the vehicle.
- Never place a rear-facing child seat in front of an air bag.
- Use the seat, booster or belt appropriate for your child's age and size.
- Drivers and vehicle owners should insist all passengers wear seat belts, even on short trips.
Pay close attention to rear seat passengers. Studies show that rear seat passengers are 10 percent more likely to neglect to wear their seat belts. But rear seat passengers made up 26 percent of motor vehicle accident passenger deaths in 2012.