Passenger Restraint

Drivers and passengers who buckle up are 50 percent more likely to survive serious motor vehicle crashes and avoid injuries, making safety belts the least expensive and most effective way to lower employer costs due to crashes and injuries.

Safety belt laws differ from state to state, but there are adult belt use laws in 49 states and the District of Columbia. Despite this, in 2012, more than 20,000 people not wearing safety belts were killed in motor vehicle crashes. Encouraging employees to wear their safety belts will greatly increase their chances of surviving a traffic crash, and is the easiest way to lower crash-related costs. 

What's the Problem

Who’s Still Not Buckling Up?

In 2012, the overall safety belt use rate was 86 percent, compared to 58 percent in 1994. Experts say safety belts would have helped save an additional 15,000 lives in 2012.

However, 52 percent of fatalities which restraint use were known were reported to be unrestrained. Passengers and pickup drivers are less likely to buckle up than other motorists, and men are less likely to use safety belts than women.

Ejections from Vehicles

Ejection from the vehicle is one of the most serious events that can happen in a crash. In fatal crashes in 2012, 79 percent of passenger vehicle occupants who were totally ejected from the vehicle were killed. Seat belts are extremely effective in preventing total ejections, as only 1 percent of the occupants reported to have been using restraints were totally ejected, compared with 30 percent of the unrestrained occupants.

Unrestrained Driving Costs

According to a report by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, safety belts prevent about 11,900 fatalities and 325,000 injuries every year, saving $50 billion in medical care, lost productivity and other injury-related costs. Not wearing a safety belt results in 9,200 avoidable deaths and 143,000 needless injuries nationally. The evidence is overwhelming that safety belts save lives and reduce the severity of injuries. Employers must make a commitment to increasing safety belt use among employees.

The average cost per unrestrained person involved in an on-the-job crash is $27,750.

What You Can Do

How to Buckle Up Safely

A safety belt needs to be properly worn to fully protect the person wearing it.

  • Make sure the lap and shoulder belts are secured across the pelvis and rib cage.
  • If the safety belt does not fit properly, ask you car dealer about safety belt adjusters or extenders.
  • Check with your vehicle manufacturer if your car only has a lap belt to see how you can install a lap and shoulder belt.

Implement a Safety Belt Policy

Businesses with a written policy requiring employees to buckle up in a company vehicle or on company business have higher on-the-job safety belt usage. Employees who are in the habit of using a safety belt during work hours also are more likely to buckle up when they are off the clock.

State By State Safety Belt Laws

Every state has different laws regarding safety belt use. The NHTSA Summary of Vehicle Occupant Protections Laws provides information on each state’s laws, fines, and requirements.



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