Safety Belt and Child Safety Seat Facts & Enforcement

Safety Belt and Child Safety Seat Facts & Enforcement

Research shows that when adults buckle up, children get buckled up too.
A driver who is buckled up is three times more likely to restrain a child passenger than one who is not buckled.

Fact Sheet

In 1998, nearly 42,000 people were killed in traffic crashes and almost 3.2 million more were injured, at a cost of more than $150 billion. Safety belt use, reinforced by effective safety belt laws, is a proven life saver.

All states except one have safety belt use laws, but only 17 states and the District of Columbia have standard enforcement of their belt laws. In states with standard enforcement, law officers may ticket a non-belt user when they see a violation of the safety belt law. With secondary enforcement laws, officers may issue a citation only after stopping the vehicle for another traffic infraction.

Safety belt use is significantly higher in states with standard enforcement laws compared to those with secondary enforcement laws. Research shows that when adults buckle up, children get buckled up too. Standard enforcement is important not only for raising adult safety belt use, but also for increasing the number of children who are protected by occupant restraints.


  • Lap-shoulder belts reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat occupants by 45 percent and the risk of moderate-to-critical injuries by 50 percent. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, 1999)
  • Safety belts are credited with saving the lives of 11,088 passenger vehicle occupants over age 4 in 1998. (NHTSA, 1999)
  • In 1998, 51 percent of the children younger than age five who died in passenger vehicle crashes were unbelted. (NHTSA, 1999)
  • Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death and injury for American children. Each year, 1,700 children die and almost 300,000 more are injured in crashes. (NHTSA, 1998)
  • Average inpatient costs for traffic crash victims who did not use safety belts were 50 percent higher than for victims who were belted. (NHTSA, 1999)
  • When properly used, child safety seats reduce the risk of death by 69 percent for infants and by 47 percent for toddlers. (NHTSA, 1997)
  • From 1975 through 1998, an estimated 4,193 lives were saved by child safety seats. (NHTSA, 1999)


  • In 1998, the average national safety belt use rate was 70 percent. In secondary enforcement states safety belt use rate was 62 percent, compared to 79 percent in standard enforcement states. (NHTSA, 1999)
  • A recent Harris poll found that 90 percent of Americans support increased police enforcement of child restraint laws. (Lou Harris, for Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, 1998)
  • The average safety belt use rate in states with a standard enforcement law is 17 percentage points higher than in states with secondary enforcement. (NHTSA, 1999)
  • Adult safety belt use is the best predictor of child occupant restraint use. A driver who is buckled up is three times more likely to restrain a child passenger than one who is not buckled. (Journal Pediatrics, Vol. 102, No. 3, September 1998)
  • When Louisiana adopted its standard enforcement law, child restraint use jumped from 45 to 82 percent even though the state�s child passenger safety law did not change. (NHTSA, 1999)
  • Although concerns have been raised by some that standard enforcement laws could lead to police harassment of minorities, in surveys conducted in California and Louisiana shortly after they upgraded to standard enforcement, neither Hispanics (California) nor African Americans (Louisiana) reported receiving a greater number of safety belt citations than the public as a whole. (NHTSA, 1999)
  • A national public opinion survey conducted by a leading African American researcher found that African Americans who live in standard enforcement states overwhelmingly support the law by a 3 to 1 margin. Furthermore, 83 percent reported they always wear their safety belts, as opposed to only 66 percent of the African Americans in secondary enforcement states. (Air Bag & Seat Belt Safety Campaign, 1999)
  • A study released in 1999 by Meharry Medical College, an historically black college, supports the enactment of standard enforcement safety belts laws coupled with a zero tolerance provision for differential enforcement, particularly based on race.
  • African-American men are less likely to buckle up than their white and Hispanic counterparts, putting them at greater risk of dying in a crash. (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) However, research shows that for African American men age 18-29, belt use is significantly higher in standard enforcement states than in secondary law states: 58 versus 46 percent. (American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 88, No. 2, Feb. 1998)

Age at which should no longer be required to wear set belts?

Baseed on total population age 16+ and older believed that all children should be required to wear seat belts after outgrowing car seats (85% of the 95% who agreed there should be a requirement or said it depended on the child's age). Females (86%) were more likely to favor the requirement for all children than were males (75%).
Age at which should no longer be required to wear set belts

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this is a vey good thing and i will abide by all the rules in this a matter of fact i already do.

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