Taking just a few moments to buckle up before heading out can mean the difference between living and dying in a motor vehicle crash.
With the exception of New Hampshire, all states and the District of Columbia require adults to use seat belts while seated in the front seat. Adult rear-seat passengers are covered by laws in 32 states and the District of Columbia.
Actual seat belt use varies widely from state to state, due to factors such as differences in public attitudes, enforcement practices, legal provisions, public information and education programs. The national use rate is roughly 90%, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association. (NHTSA)
NHTSA estimates that seat belt use in passenger vehicles saves nearly 15,000 lives a year. Research has shown that buckling up in the front seat of a car can reduce the risk of fatal injury by 45% and moderate to critical injury by 50%. According to NHTSA, seat belts reduce the risk of fatal injury to drivers and occupants of pickup trucks, SUVs and vans by 50%.