Nearly half of the deaths from car accidents in the United States are due to not buckling up. An estimated 2,400 lives could have been saved in 2016 if drivers and passengers had fastened their seat belts.
Back seat passengers tend to buckle their belts less often than persons sitting in the front. An average of 11% fewer back seat passengers reported wearing a seat belt compared to front seat riders.
The data in the table come from a national survey conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety / Highway Loss Data Institute. The most common reason that back seat passengers decided not to wear a seat belt was because they felt safer sitting behind the driver.
Yet back seat passengers who do not strap in are eight times more likely to sustain a serious injury in a car accident. Failure to buckle up is not just a personal risk. Unbuckled passengers become projectiles in a crash, jeopardizing the safety of everyone in the car. Other car passengers are three times as likely to be fatally injured when a passenger behind them doesn’t buckle up.
Feature image: IIHS Status Report newsletter, Vol. 52, No. 5, August 3, 2017