There are many advantages of wearing a seat belt in your vehicle. First and foremost, it protects you and your passengers from injury. Research has shown that occupants not strapped into a seat belt are four times more likely to die than those buckled in a crash. This is because seat belts contact the strongest parts of the human body.

The best defense against injury in a car crash

Seat belts protect you from the traumatic forces of a car crash. These belts are designed to spread the forces across the entire body, helping to reduce injuries and fatalities in car crashes. They also prevent occupants from being ejected from the vehicle. Ejected passengers in a crash are twice as likely to die than those who are buckled in.

While these statistics are impressive, there is still room for improvement. For example, the emergency department at this hospital manages over 400 road traffic injury cases every month, most of which have varying degrees of injury. Always check if you have a seat belt light on to add safety measures. 

Slow down in a crash

Seat belts help you slow down in a crash by spreading the force of an impact over a longer distance. In an accident, the crash will cause a large amount of kinetic energy to be released, so the longer the stopping distance, the lower the impact force will be. Seat belts also prevent you from slamming into the dashboard or side windows.

Seat belts can also prevent serious injuries. Studies have shown that seat belt use reduces the risk of death and injury in crashes. Whether driving a car or riding in a van, wearing a seat belt is a good idea. The NHTSA recommends that drivers wear seat belts regardless of age.

Reduce the risk of ejection from the seat

According to the NHTSA, seat belt use among drivers and front seat passengers has increased by about nine percent since the “Click It or Ticket” campaign was introduced in 2006. In addition, in states with primary enforcement laws, seat belt usage is at 90 percent, compared to seventy-five percent in states without enforcement. The NHTSA also reports that the use of seat belts is more common among people in poor areas, whose rates are higher than those in middle or high-income areas. Moreover, people in rural areas are twice as likely to use seat belts as people in big cities.

The use of seat belts is also associated with a reduction in the risk of death. Research shows that occupants in cars, SUVs, and pickup trucks who use seat belts are less likely to die from injury than those not wearing seat belts. For example, using seat belts in car crashes reduces the risk of death or injury by 58 percent in cars, 60 percent for SUVs, and 65 percent in trucks and pickups.

Reduce the risk of fatality

Seat belts effectively reduce fatality risk, especially during rollover crashes. The use of belts reduces fatalities by nearly two-thirds in light trucks. In addition, they reduce occupant injuries in frontal collisions and mitigate occupant injuries in nearside impacts. While belts’ effectiveness varies yearly due to the small N’s of cases reported on the FARS, the results remain fairly consistent. For example, the fatality reduction reached 61 percent in 1986 and remained within that range through 1999.

The effectiveness of seat belts is greatest for occupants aged 15 to 54. But, then, it begins to decline as occupants grow older. By age 80 and above, seat belt use drops to a minimal level.

They cost money

Seat belts are a great safety feature in cars, but they cost money. You can expect to pay between $20 and $125 to replace a seat belt in your vehicle. Depending on your vehicle model, these costs can be higher or lower. Luxury vehicles will cost more to replace, while less expensive vehicles may only cost a few dollars.

Regardless of your financial situation, wearing a seat belt is still smart. Not wearing one can land you a seat belt violation ticket. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, people save nearly 15,000 lives annually by wearing seat belts. 

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