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Unbelted Motorists

Safety belts are the most effective way to protect people in crashes.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that seat belt use in 2014 was  at 87 percent.  The seat belt use rate has steadily
limbed since 1995.1  Buckling seat belts reduces the risk of fatal and critical injuries to front-seat passenger car occupants by as much as 50 percent.

More than 2.2 million adult drivers and passengers were treated in emergency departments as the result of being injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2012.2

The issue in the Kansas City region

Proper use of restraint devices by drivers and passengers is one of the best ways to prevent death and injury in a traffic crash, yet some motorists avoid restraining themselves and their children before driving. This behavior leads
to higher fatality rates for motorists. In 2014,
the Destination Safe area recorded 176 fatalities,
67 were unrestrained. Seatbelts are effective in reducing fatality rates.
State laws in both Kansas and Missouri require drivers and passengers to buckle up. In 2010, Kansas passed a primary seat belt law — meaning you can be pulled over for not wearing a seatbelt. In recent years, several Missouri municipalities have passed primary seat belt ordinances, including Grandview, Independence, Kansas City, Sugar Creek and Weston. Law enforcement personnel will issue a ticket if you are stopped and not restrained by a seat belt. 

Despite losses in some years, we continue to see an overall increase in seatbelt usage. More than 40 percent of all roadway fatalities include a driver or occupant that was unrestrained.

What you can do:

  • Know the facts about seat belt use. When properly used, lap/shoulder belts reduce the risk of fatal injury to front seat passenger car occupants by 45 percent. Moderate to critical injuries are reduced by 50 percent.

  • Know the facts about child passenger safety seats. When used correctly, child safety seats are 71 percent effective in preventing fatalities, 67 percent effective in reducing the need for hospitalization and 50 percent effective in preventing injuries.

  • Make sure your safety belt fits right. It should sit low across the hips without riding up onto your stomach. The shoulder part of the belt should be across the collarbone and chest, not against he neck or face.

  • Always buckle up.

For more information:

2   CDC, Web-based Injury Statistics.