Seat Belt Use
Teens buckle up the least of any age group, and the consequences are deadly. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2009 the majority (56 percent) of teens and young adults ages 16 to 20 that died in crashes were not wearing their seat belt.
Increasing belt use is a key way to prevent your teens from dying in crashes. Learn ways to reinforce safe driving and buckling up with your teen at Buckle Up America and Ride Like A Friend. Drive Like You Care.
Our research has shown that teens who view their parents as involved (set rules and monitor) are twice as likely to wear a seat belt as a driver or passenger as teens who say their parents are uninvolved. These teens also are nearly twice as likely to believe that buckling up affects safety. You can make a difference by always wearing a seat belt and insisting that everyone else does too. Teens decide what’s “normal” or “expected” by observing the behaviors around them. They’ll be more likely to buckle up if you have established it as routine.
Other ways to promote seat belt safety:
- Establish seat belt use as a rule for using the car. Your teen driver and all passengers must buckle up every time or car privileges will be suspended. Be sure to remind your teen of this rule whenever he takes the keys and heads out the door.
- Never turn the key until everyone is buckled up. Remember, your child learns how to be safe by watching you while still in a car seat. Insist that your teen do the same when in the driver’s seat.
- Explain it’s about safety, not control. Insisting on seat belts is a rule in place for your teen’s safety not for control. It’s a rule you follow yourself and one you demand because of how much you care.
- Tell them the straight facts. A lot of teens think seat belts are only necessary on highways or on long trips. Let them know most crashes happen in the neighborhood and that people can get really hurt at local driving speeds.
- It’s not just about them. Explain that most adolescent passengers that died in wrecks were not wearing seat belts. In a crash, an unrestrained body can also hurt others in the car.
Learn more about seat belt safety.