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Seat Belt Use

General Statistics

  • 2,206 young adults (ages 13-20) not wearing a seat belt died in crashes in 2013, 52 percent of the total that died in motor vehicle crashes that year.1

  • In 2015, 6.1 percent of teen passengers reported rarely or never wearing a seat belt recently, nearly a 20 percent decrease since 1991.*2
  • Teens who live in states with primary enforcement seat belt laws are 12 percent more likely to buckle up as drivers and 15 percent more likely to buckle up as passengers compared to teens who reside in states with weaker secondary enforcement seat belt laws.3
  • As teens move the stages of Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL), they are more likely to stay buckled up in primary enforcement states than in secondary enforcement states.3

  • Teens more frequently associate seat belt use with a “safe driver” rather than a “good driver.”4

  • Driving programs that combine education, peer-to-peer strategies, publicized enforcement, and parental monitoring may show potential for increasing teen seat belt use. 5

*at least once during prior month

  1. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Traffic Safety Facts: 2013 Occupant Protection. Washington, DC: US Dept. of Transportation. 
  2. 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  3. Garcia-Espana JF. Safety Belt Laws and Disparities in Safety Belt Use Among US High School Drivers. American Journal of Public Health.  April 19, 2012 (online).
  4. Barg FK, et al. Teen Perceptions of Good Drivers and Safe Drivers: Implications for Reaching Adolescents. Injury Prevention. February 10, 2009.
  5. The Guide to Community Preventive Services (The Community Guide), Motor Vehicle-Related Injury Prevention, at www.thecommunity, and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (2013)

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