Teen Driver Safety Starts with Wearing Your Seat Belt
Did you know that 60.7 percent of teen passengers (16 to 19) who died in crashes weren’t wearing their seatbelts and 51.2 percent of teen drivers (16 to 19) who died in crashes weren’t belted? Lack of seat belt use is still a major problem – we must continue to educate our teens and parents about its vital importance and encourage stringent law enforcement.
Teens have the highest fatality rate in motor vehicle crashes of any age group. One key reason for high traffic fatalities among this age group is that teens wear a safety belt less frequently than adults do.
Teens are at risk of being involved in a motor vehicle crash
- Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for 15- to 20-year-olds in the United States.
- In 2002, 69% of the young drivers involved in fatal passenger vehicle crashes who had been drinking were not wearing a safety belt.
- Many high school students fail to use their safety belts even when riding with adults who are buckled up.
- Male high school students (18%) report that they are likely to use safety belts rarely or never; 10% of female high school students say the same.
Safety belts save lives and dollars
- In 2001, the estimated economic cost of police-reported crashes involving drivers 15-20 years old was $42.3 billion.
- Safety belts saved more than 12,000 American lives in 2001 and yet, during that same year nearly two thirds (60%) of passenger vehicle occupants killed in traffic crashes were not wearing their belts.
- Research has shown that lap/shoulder belts, when used properly, reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants by 45% and the risk of moderate-to-critical injury by 50%. For light truck occupants, safety belts reduce the risk of fatal injury by 60% and moderate-to-critical injury by 65%.
- Safety belts should always be worn, even when riding in vehicles equipped with air bags. Air bags are designed to work with safety belts, not alone. Air bags, when not used with safety belts, have a fatality-reducing effectiveness rate of only 12%.
- Safety belt usage saves society an estimated $50 billion annually in medical care, lost productivity, and other injury-related costs.
- Conversely, safety belt non-use results in significant economic costs to society. The needless deaths and injuries from lack of safety belt usage account for an estimated $26 billion in economic costs to society annually. Drive carefully and responsibly. Concentrate on the road.
What We Are Doing About It: SADD chapters across the country are implementing SADD’s Rock the Belt Campaign. During this week-long event, students can participate in fun and effective activities to raise awareness, educate, and engage peers, the community and even parents on the statistics and why it’s critical to buckle up, every time, in every vehicle. If your chapter used Rock the Belt, report your results using the form included in the activity guide!