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 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.
Texas law states that all passengers in a vehicle must be secured by a safety belt. Despite this, in 2012 more than 950 Texans not wearing safety belts were killed in motor vehicle crashes. Requiring 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?

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

One out of every 4 vehicles in Texas is a pickup truck. In fatal crashes, pickups roll over almost twice as often as passenger cars. According to the National Occupant Use Survey, safety belt use was the lowest for pickup trucks among all types of vehicles. In 2011, over two-thirds of rural pickup truck occupants killed were unrestrained—the highest percentage of any passenger vehicle occupants killed among both rural and urban areas.
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 Employers Can Do 

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 your 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.

According to a National Highway Transportation Safety Administration report, among employees who drive as part of their jobs, the percentage that report wearing safety belts “all the time” (personal and work-related) is higher (86 percent) among those who thought their company had a safety belt use policy than among those who did not (72 percent).
Support the Texas ‘Click It or Ticket’ Campaign

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.

What's New 

Texas state law requires everyone in a vehicle, including passengers in the back seat, to be secured by a safety belt.

  • Texas is a primary enforcement state, meaning you can be pulled over for failing to wear your safety belt.
  • Children younger than 8 must be in a child safety seat until they are taller than 4 feet, 9 inches.
  • Fines range from $25 to $250, plus court costs.

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

 A project of the National Safety Council
in cooperation with the Texas Department of Transportation.

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