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Seat Belt Use

Teens buckle up the least of any age group, and the consequences are deadly. According to a survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), in 2013 only 55 percent of high school students reported always wearing a seat belt when riding with someone else. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2012 58 percent of young adults (ages 13-20) that died in crashes were not wearing a seat belt.  

Increasing seat belt use is a key way to prevent your teen from dying in a crash. Learn ways to reinforce safe driving and buckling up with your teen at Buckle Up America.  

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 crashes were not wearing seat belts. In a crash, an unrestrained body can also hurt others in the car.


One of the first lessons for teen drivers, before they even start the car, is how to correctly wear their seat belts. Watch this short video with your teen on how to properly adjust the seat belts:

Seat Belt How to

This video, plus the other 52 videos available, are part of the TeenDrivingPlan Parent Guide which is a downloadable tool to help parents make the most out of their practice drive time. Click here to download the guide. Click here to view the entire YouTube Channel.

Further reading:

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