What's the Problem?
Safety belt use has steadily increased in Texas, but more still needs to be done. In 2001, only about 76 percent of Texans buckled up. Now, nearly 93 percent of Texans are safely secured. As a result, experts say safety belts have helped Texas save an additional 7,923 lives over the past 5 years.
However, more than 1 million Texans still do not wear safety belts. In 2011, 52 percent of all people killed in vehicles 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.
An estimated 223 additional lives could have been saved in 2009 if all vehicle drivers and passengers in Texas wore safety belts.
Pickup Trucks and Their Increased Dangers
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 Employers Can Do
A safety belt needs to be properly worn to fully protect the person wearing it.
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.
The Texas Department of Transportation conducts its annual Click It or Ticket campaign each May by combining extensive advertising with stepped up enforcement of the state’s safety belt laws. This is an ideal time for businesses to conduct a safety belt education program and remind employees that buckling up helps prevent serious injury and the chance of receiving an expensive ticket.
Texas state law requires everyone in a vehicle, including passengers in the back seat, to be secured by a safety belt.
Safety Belts Save Lives
A November 2013 report from the Department of Transportation and NHTSA concluded that an additional 3,031 lives would have been saved if passengers ages 5 and older involved in fatal crashes would have worn their seat belts.