Seat Belt Use and Motor Vehicle Crash Injuries

In our series of articles on motor vehicle deaths and injuries we have learned about recent trends and statistics which encourage us at Clark and Steinhorn to hope we will see fewer car and truck crash injuries and deaths. Overall, the roads appear to be safer for everyone but motorcyclists and their passengers.

Some of this may be attributable to new safety features appearing more and more on our cars and even commercial trucks and eighteen wheelers. Anti-lock brakes, skid controls, airbags and side-curtain airbags reduce injuries and save lives.

It also appears an old friend, the safety or seat belt has a hand in things. seat belt use is up to more than 83%. Use by younger drivers 16 to 24 is lowest at 80% but even this is an improvement. Oddly, seat belt use in seniors while higher than young people at 84% represented a decrease. Solo drivers have a lower seat belt usage than drivers in groups (do our passengers reinforce group safety?) and women are better than men.

These findings derive from NOPUS or the National Occupant Protection Use Survey. NOPUS also collects other vehicle safety data including information about child safety seat usage and motorcycle helmet usage. One disconcerting finding was that black vehicle occupants were less likely to wearing their seat belts.

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