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2,456 Deaths in 2016 Due to Not Buckling Up

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) once again collaborated with local law enforcement agencies nationwide to remind people to buckle up.  The agency recently kicked off its yearly “Click It or Ticket” safety campaign in an effort to increase seat belt use and prevent needless car accident fatalities.

Click it or Ticket Campaign

“Safety is our top priority, and this department is proud to stand with local law enforcement officials to help spread the word about the importance of buckling up,” said Elaine L. Chao, U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao, in a May press release.

The initiative, which ran from May 21-June 3, had the support of more than 10,000 law enforcement agencies from across the country. The campaign featured national advertisements that warned about the dangers of driving or riding in motor vehicles while unrestrained, in the hopes of bringing attention to this important topic. It is mandatory to wear a seat belt in 49 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. During the campaign, police officers were out in full force, issuing citations to any persons who were not buckled up.

Traffic deaths could have been prevented

The federal campaign has had a positive impact on traffic safety since its launch, as figures show a steady uptick in seat belt use in the past decade. Although seat belt compliance has saved thousands of lives (an estimated 15,000 in 2016 alone), the NHTSA cautions that there’s still room for improvement.

Recent crash data indicate that 2,456 lives could have been saved if every driver and vehicle occupant over the age of 5 had buckled up.

Key takeaways from 2016 crash data

There were 17,480 people killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2016 – the majority in passenger cars. Among the fatalities for which restraint use was known, 48 percent were not wearing their seat belts at the time of the accident. The safety report shows that nearly half of all front seat passengers killed in crashes were not buckled up, and 57 percent of backseat passengers killed were not restrained.

The data also examined fatalities by vehicle type. Some 61 percent of unrestrained occupants who were killed were in pick-up trucks, while 42 percent of unrestrained passengers were in standard passenger vehicles.

Seat belts are extremely effective at preventing ejection from a vehicle at the time of impact. In all of the fatal crashes in 2016, only 1 percent of all passenger vehicle occupants wearing their seat belts were thrown completely from the vehicle, compared to 29 percent of those who were unbuckled. 

New York was the first state to pass a mandatory seat belt law in 1984. The state’s “observed seat belt compliance rate” hovers just over 91 percent. In 2016, 34 percent of all New York passenger vehicle occupants killed in accidents were not wearing their seat belt, underscoring the immense value of restraint use.

Legal representation in Suffolk and Nassau Counties

The law firm of Edelman, Krasin & Jaye supports any initiatives that bring attention to the importance of seat belt use. Buckling up is one of the best defenses against distracted, reckless and impaired drivers and can increase your chances of surviving a serious collision.

Our award-winning legal team is dedicated to helping injury victims in New York recover just compensation from negligent parties. Call 1-800-469-7429 to schedule a free, private consultation with experienced car accident lawyers in Nassau County.

Additional Resources on Traffic Safety & Seat Belt Use:

  1. NHTSA, Buckle Up. It Could Save Your Life. https://www.nhtsa.gov/press-releases/buckle-it-could-save-your-life
  2. NHTSA, 2016 Traffic Safety Facts https://www.nhtsa.gov/press-releases/buckle-it-could-save-your-life