The day before Thanksgiving, a woman died in Knox County when her vehicle crashed into a tree. Speed may have been a contributing cause of the crash, and the woman was not wearing a seat belt when she crashed. While seat belts cannot prevent all injuries or even fatalities, wearing your seat belt can protect you during a crash. Consider some of the following statistics about seat belt usage:
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, using a seat belt reduces your chances of serious crash-related injuries or death by about half.
- Of those ages 13-20 that died in vehicle crashes in 2012, 55 percent were not wearing seat belts.
- According to data collected by the CDC in 2012, 84 percent of drivers and front seat passengers use seat belts. This puts us just under the national average of 86 percent. It is much higher than New Hampshire (69 percent) where there are not seat belt laws for those over 18, but it is much lower than Washington and Oregon, where 97 percent of people wear their seat belts.
- Rear-seat passengers are less likely to wear seat belts than those riding in the front seat.
- Unfortunately, young adults, those 18-34, are less likely to wear seat belts than those 35 and older.
- Seat belts keep you in your seat. This can protect you from hitting the windshield or other parts of the vehicle, from hitting other passengers, and from being thrown from the vehicle.
- Even if your vehicle is equipped with air bags, you need to use a seat belt. Using one will keep you in your seat, which will put you far enough away from the airbag to allow it to cushion the impact rather than injuring you.