Seat belt safety has come a long way. Between 1975 and 2000, over 135,000 lives were saved by seat belt use, and as usage increases, traffic fatalities decrease. But we still have a long way to go. Despite advanced restraint systems and tough legislation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports 25 percent of Americans fail to buckle up, an average below other industrialized nations. Nonetheless, the advantages of wearing a seat belt have proven to be an effective tool in automobile safety.
Seat belt usage reduces the chance of traffic-related fatalities by 45 percent. According to NHTSA, in 2006 over 15,000 lives were saved by seat belt use.
In most cases, wearing a seat belt prevents ejection from the vehicle. 2006 NHTSA statistics show 75 percent of drivers ejected during a car accident were killed. Only one percent of them were wearing a seat belt.
Wearing a seat belt minimizes the body's contact with the interior of the car resulting in fewer injuries. According to NHTSA, seat belt usage reduces the chance of being injured by up to 50 percent.
Seat belts spread the force of impact over larger parts of the body reducing severity of injuries. Injuries sustained when not wearing a seat belt can be up to five times greater.
Average medical costs for belted drivers are 60 percent less than for unbelted drivers.