Out of 20,000 deaths that take place from car-related accidents, 51% are not wearing seat belts. In 2017 alone, seat belts saved more than 14,500 lives.
The data and statistics in this article have been compiled from trusted sources including the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the National Safety Council, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
How many people are killed from not wearing seat belts?
This data is taken from The Zebra and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
Out of 23,824 people killed in a car accident in 2020, 12,150 of them were found not wearing a seat belt. This number was 4% higher when compared to 2019. Seatbelts do make a huge difference between life and death.
People who chose not to wear a seat belt have a mortality rate of 47% or higher according to The Zebra. This makes it extremely critical to wear a seatbelt for both drivers and passengers alike. Many drivers see seat belts as an added vehicle safety feature even though almost all 50 states require wearing a seat belt by law.
Seat belt safety statistics
The following statistics are based on VirtualDrive, the Naval Safety Center, and NHTSA.
- 75% of people that get ejected during a fatal car crash die because of their injuries. The number one reason for getting ejected is not wearing a seat belt.
- Only 1% of people that are already wearing a seatbelt get ejected during a fatal car crash.
- 58% of nighttime car accident deaths were not wearing seatbelts
- 22% of children ages 0-4 that die in fatal car accidents were unrestrained.
- 24% of older adults ages 75 and older were unrestrained.
- The age group with the highest number of deaths from not wearing a seatbelt was millennials with 60% unrestrained deaths.
- Seat belts are proven to be far more likely to prevent people from injury in a car accident when compared to an airbag.
- Seat belts reduce the risk of injury to passengers by 45%.
- About 25% of passengers that do not wear a seatbelt believe that driving as a passenger is safer than being the driver.
- According to a study held in 2013, drivers are two times more likely to get severely injured in a car accident if the passenger is not wearing a seatbelt.
Seat belt use by demographic
The following data is taken from the Agency for Healthcare Research.
- 6.7% of those ages 22-29 do not wear seat belts. This age group had the highest number of not using a seatbelt in a moving vehicle.
- 6.1% of those ages 19-21 do not wear a seatbelt.
- Males are three times more likely to not use a seatbelt when compared to females.
- 6.9% of people living in poor neighborhoods were more likely to avoid using a seatbelt while driving.
- 5% of people living in high-income or rich neighborhoods did not use seat belts.
- People that had no auto insurance coverage were 1.5 times more likely to not wear a seatbelt than those with private car insurance.
- Those living in rural areas were twice as likely to avoid using a seatbelt when compared to those living in the city area.
Seat belt use by state
New Hampshire has the highest percentage of unstrained fatalities in all 50 states. Missouri has the second highest percentage. Utah on the other hand has the highest rates of seat belt use and the lowest rates of unstrained fatalities in the U.S.
This 2019 chart shows the percentage of unstrained fatalities during the daytime in all 50 states:
|State||Total fatalities in 2019||Unrestrained fatalities||% of total fatalities where person was not using a seatbelt|
FAQs about seat belts
Can seat belts be life-threatening?
Seatbelts might sometimes make it harder to get out in the event of a car accident. But they remain more likely to save you from hitting your head or getting severely injured in a car crash.
How effective are seat belts?
When used correctly, seat belts reduce the risk of getting severely injured in a car accident by 50%.
How many lives do seatbelts save annually?
Seatbelts save an average of 15,000 lives per year in the United States.
Statistics suggest that seat belts are one of the most effective safety measures on our roadways. They have been statistically proven to save thousands of lives each year.
Not only have they been proven to work, but they are very easy to use and wear, which has led to greater seat belt usage across the world. Overall, they are the single best method of reducing injury and saving lives in a car accident.