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Face the Facts

  • The national seat belt use rate in 2019 was 90.7 percent, which is good—but we can do better. The other 9.3 percent still need to be reminded that seat belts save lives.

  • Among young adults 18 to 34 killed in crashes in 2018, more than half (58%) were completely unrestrained—one of the highest percentages for all age groups.

  • Men make up the majority of those killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes. In 2018, 65 percent of the 22,697 passenger vehicle occupants who were killed were men. Men also wear their seat belts at a lower rate than women do—52 percent of men killed in crashes were unrestrained, compared to 39 percent of women killed in crashes.


Bust the Myths

  • Vehicle type: There seems to be a misconception among those who drive and ride in pickup trucks that their large vehicles will protect them better than other vehicles would in a crash. The numbers say otherwise: 59 percent of pickup truck occupants who were killed in 2018 were not buckled. That’s compared to 42 percent of passenger car occupants who were not wearing seat belts when they were killed. Regardless of vehicle type, seat belt use is the single most effective way to stay alive in a crash.

  • Seating position: Too many people wrongly believe they are safe in the back seat unrestrained. Forty-six percent of all front-seat passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in 2018 were unrestrained, but 56 percent of those killed in back seats were unrestrained.

  • Rural versus urban locations: People who live in rural areas might believe that their crash exposure is lower, but in 2018, there were 12,068 passenger vehicle fatalities in rural locations, compared to 10,330 fatalities in urban locations. Out of those fatalities, 49 percent of those killed in the rural locations were not wearing their seat belts, compared to 45 percent in urban locations.

Click It or Ticket—Day and Night

  • High-visibility seat belt enforcement is important 24 hours a day, but nighttime is especially deadly for unbuckled occupants. In 2018, 56 percent of passenger vehicle occupants killed at night (6 p.m.–5:59 a.m.) were not wearing their seat belts.

  • Click It or Ticket isn’t about citations; it’s about saving lives. In 2018, there were 9,778 unbuckled passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in the United States.

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