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 percent of Americans wear seat belts, and the few who don’t are vulnerable. More than half of vehicle occupants killed in 2012 were not wearing one
(Injury Facts 2014). For 16- to 24-year-olds, seat belt use is significantly lower than other age groups. Unfortunately, teens and young adults also have a higher risk of a crash due to driver inexperience and impaired driving. For information about
teens and seat belts, visit driveithome.org.
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 percent of the time. When the driver is unbuckled, children are restrained 67 percent 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.