According to the CDC, “Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death among those aged 1-54 in the U.S.” The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) studied data from Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) and identified several behaviors that have low likelihodd of fatalities including 1) Being in a pickup (compared to a passenger car); 2) Being in a sport utility vehicle (compared to a passenger car); 3) Being in a van (compared to a passenger car); 4) Being age 0-19 (compared to age 20-29); 5) Being age 70 or older (compared to age 20-29); 6) Being restrained (compared to unrestrained); 7) Being in a multi-vehicle crash (compared to a single vehicle crash).
“Other statistics coming from the CDC, “More than half (range: 53%-59%) of teens (13-19 years) and adults aged 20-44 years who died in crashes in 2014 were unrestrained at the time of the crash.; Young adult drivers and passengers (18-24) have the highest crash-related non-fatal injury rates of all adults; and seat belts dramatically reduce risk of death and serious injury. Among drivers and front-seat passengers, seat belts reduce the risk of death by 45%, and cut the risk of serious injury by 50%.”
Seat belt restraint has long been identified as a lifesaving tool. In an effort to reduce the number of vehicle fatalities, mandatory seat belt laws were passed in all 49 states, led by New York State in 1984. The exception was New Hampshire, which only required that children be restrained. The laws, however, differed in who was affected with some only requiring seat belt use for those traveling in the front seat. Sixteen states designated the infraction to be classified as secondary enforcement, meaning that law enforcement could not stop and ticket a driver for that offense alone.