At Work At Home On the Road
  • Everyone Has a Role in Making Our Roads Safer

  • .

    No one wakes up thinking they will lose a loved one in a car crash that day. But on average, 103 people die in crashes and 11,800 are injured every day.

    Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for people age 1 to 24, and the second-leading cause of death for adults age 25 to 84, according to Injury Facts 2017®, a statistical report compiled by the National Safety Council.

    Overwhelmingly, these deaths are preventable, and you can help change these statistics. NSC has a message for every driver: Slow down, stop using your phone while driving, make good choices, buckle up and watch out for children. These safety tips will save lives. And remember, you’re setting an example for your own kids.

    One Call Can Change Everything

    Many distractions exist while driving, but cell phone use tops the list. With some state laws focused on handheld bans and car makers putting hands-free technology in vehicles, many drivers assume hands-free cell phone use is safe. It's not. There is no safe way to use a cell phone and drive.

    In 2015, 3,477 people were killed in distracted driving incidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Another 391,000 were injured. NHTSA estimates 660,000 drivers are using their phones while driving during daylight hours. NSC advocates for stronger laws, helps employers assess their cell phone policies and provides a free cell phone policy kit, evaluates research and educates the public to change driver behavior.

    Don't Drive While Impaired

    Driving under the influence is a deadly proposition. Consuming alcohol, prescription medication, over-the-counter or illegal drugs greatly increases the chance of injury or death for you, your family members and others on the road. Impaired drivers face prosecution, legal costs and fines.

    NHTSA reports about one-third of all fatal crashes involved alcohol in 2016, and nearly 10,500 people lost their lives. While drunk driving incidents have remained steady for years, incidents involving drugged driving are on the rise. In a 2014 survey, NHTSA reported:

    • 20% of drivers tested positive for drugs
    • There was a 47% increase in the number of drivers testing positive for marijuana
    • The likelihood for a marijuana user to be involved in a crash increased 25%

    The best solution is for drivers to be sober. If you plan to drink outside the home, decide in advance how you will get home with a sober driver. Impairment starts with the first drink.

  • .

  • Seat Belts Save Lives

    Worn properly, seat belts are your best protection against injury in a crash. That's why 49 states and the District of Columbia have laws requiring people riding in cars to wear seat belts. Only New Hampshire lacks a seat belt law.

    More than 90% of Americans wear seat belts, and the few who don't are vulnerable. Nearly half (48%) of vehicle occupants killed in 2015 were not restrained (Injury Facts 2017). For 16- to 24-year-olds, seat belt use is significantly lower than other age group. Teens and young adults also have a higher risk of crash due to driver inexperience and impaired driving. For information about teens and seat belts, visit

    Air bags also help reduce injury in crashes, but only when used with seat belts. In addition, due to the force of air bags in a crash, children should ride in the back seat of a vehicle until they are at least 13 years old.

    Secure Children Safely

    The best way to protect children in the car is to put them in the right seat at the right time, and use it the right way. Restraint use among young children often depends on the driver's seat belt use. When the driver is buckled, children are restrained 95% of the time. When the driver is unbuckled, children are restrained 67% of the time, according to the National Occupant Protection Use Survey.

    Car seats reduce the risk of injury by 71% to 82%, and reduce the risk of death by 28% compared to children in seat belts, alone. Booster seats reduce the risk of non-fatal injuries by 45% among 4- to 8-year-olds, according to AAA. However, child restraints often are used incorrectly.

    Nationally certified child passenger safety technicians are available to assist parents and caregivers with properly installing child restraints and securing children correctly.

  • Slow Down

    ​In 2012, speeding was a factor in 30% of fatal crashes, according to NHTSA. People often believe speeding is a problem only on highways. However, the percentage of crash deaths involving speeding is higher on minor roads, such as neighborhood streets. Traffic-calming engineering changes and speed enforcement cameras can help reduce speeding your local area.

  • Be Aware of Kids

    Children under age 4 are especially vulnerable to getting run over in a driveway. This happens most often because a parent backs over a child standing or playing near the vehicle. Drivers should always walk completely around a vehicle to be sure small children are not present before backing up or pulling forward. Mirrors and rear-view cameras won't always show children near the car.

    Kids also can get trapped in the trunk, strangled by seat belts or hurt by power windows. Cars should always be locked so children cannot play inside.

  • Don't Forget Your Precious Cargo in the Back Seat

    During the spring and summer, children increasingly are getting locked in cars and dying of heatstroke. Even in 70-degree weather, cars can reach life-threatening temperatures for children and pets in just minutes. Leaving a window open a crack will not help.

    Always keep vehicles locked so children cannot get into the car alone. And, since most cases of heatstroke happen when a parent forgets a child in the back seat, put something you need back there with the child, such as a purse or laptop.

    Learn more about child passenger safety.

National Safety Council Mission

The National Safety Council eliminates preventable deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy.

© National Safety Council. All rights reserved.