Why People Don't Wear Seat Belts


Seat belts have long been an important safety device in all cars. Many states require front-seat passengers to wear their seat belts and some will issue tickets to those who don't wear them. Yet there are still many people who don't like to wear their seat belts. According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), 10,984 people were killed in auto accidents in 2002. Of that total, 10,404 were not wearing seat belts.

Slow speeds

  • Some people choose not to wear their seat belts when they are traveling close to home. They think that because they are driving at relatively slow speeds they won't need their seat belts. According to the NTSB, 80 percent of all crashes come at speeds less than 40 mph and 75 percent of those are within 25 miles of home.


  • Some people believe the combination of the lap and shoulder belt is uncomfortable, so they either don't wear it or they put the shoulder belt under their arm. Wearing a shoulder belt under your arm can cause internal injuries.


  • Many people who don't wear seat belts refuse to do so because they resent being told what to do in their own car. People view their car as their fortress and they want to do what they want in it and not be told by the government what to do. While that argument makes some sense on the surface, it has nothing to do with reality. Traffic laws regarding speed limits and stop signs are also examples of the government telling drivers how to behave.

Thrown from the car

  • Some people offer the reason that if they are thrown from a car, they are more likely to be saved. According to the Kansas Traffic Safety Resource Office, individuals who get thrown from their cars are more likely to get killed than those wearing seat belts.

Burning or submerged car

  • Drivers say they would want to increase their chances of surviving a car fire or a submerged car. While unfastening the seat belt would be one more step to take in either of those circumstances, wearing a seat belt may mean the difference between being alert or dazed. Less than 1/2 of 1 percent of all accidents involve submersion or fire.

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