The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists seat belt use as the most effective way to reduce injuries and fatalities in motor vehicle accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that wearing a seat belt cuts your risk of serious car crash injuries in half. Despite the benefits, more than half of all teenagers killed in motor vehicle accidents are not wearing their seat belts when the crash occurs. According to recent research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, roughly 20 percent of drivers have failed to buckle up at some point in the last month.
The problem is particularly bad in Florida. The NHTSA found that Florida had the second highest total of unrestrained passenger fatalities in the country. This is due, at least in part, to the lax seat belt laws in this state. The majority of states require all passengers to wear seat belts, whereas Florida law does not. Allowing adults to ride without seat belts in rear seats puts lives at risk and only increases the chances that they will ignore the seat belt when driving or riding up front.
The AAA estimates that more than 300,000 lives have been saved by seat belts since 1975. The NHTSA estimates that an additional 700,000 lives could have been saved if every passenger had worn a seat belt in that time period. There is little excuse to drive or ride without buckling up. Seat belts are more than a safety option. They are the best chance you and your family have of escaping tragedy in the event of a collision.
Source: WFTV 9 ABC, “Florida ranks second in unrestricted passenger deaths, AAA study says,” 28 April 2016