Topic Progress:

Lesson 1 – Topic 6
Teens and Seat Belt Use


Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

General Statistics

2,206 young adults (ages 13-20) not wearing a seat belt died in crashes in 2013, 52 percent of the total that died in motor vehicle crashes that year.
Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Traffic Safety Facts: 2013 Occupant Protection. Washington, DC: US Dept. of Transportation.

In 2015, 6.1 percent of teen passengers reported rarely or never wearing a seat belt recently, nearly a 20 percent decrease since 1991.
Source: 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Teens who live in states with primary enforcement seat belt laws are 12 percent more likely to buckle up as drivers and 15 percent more likely to buckle up as passengers compared to teens who reside in states with weaker secondary enforcement seat belt laws.
Source: Garcia-Espana JF. Safety Belt Laws and Disparities in Safety Belt Use Among US High School Drivers. American Journal of Public Health.

As teens move the stages of Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL), they are more likely to stay buckled up in primary enforcement states than in secondary enforcement states.
Source: Garcia-Espana JF. Safety Belt Laws and Disparities in Safety Belt Use Among US High School Drivers. American Journal of Public Health.

Teens more frequently associate seat belt use with a “safe driver” rather than a “good driver.”
Source: Barg FK, et al. Teen Perceptions of Good Drivers and Safe Drivers: Implications for Reaching Adolescents. Injury Prevention

Driving programs that combine education, peer-to-peer strategies, publicized enforcement, and parental monitoring may show potential for increasing teen seat belt use.
Source: The Guide to Community Preventive Services (The Community Guide), Motor Vehicle-Related Injury Prevention, at www.thecommunity guide.org, and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

This video, from 2009, very realistically simulates what can happen to an unbelted passenger in a motor vehicle crash – AND what damage that unbelted person can do to the others in the vehicle.


CREDIT: Impact of Unbelted Car Crash Victims, Standard YouTube License

Air Bags

Some people believe that airbags alone are enough and that seat belts are no longer needed.  It will serve you, and your passengers, well to remember that airbags are considered supplemental restraint systems – meaning they are there to add another level of safety – not replace seatbelts.

Driving or riding in an automobile is an exercise in physics. The faster you go, the bigger the mess.  And when it comes to car crashes and collisions – Some things never stop – That’s the problem.


CREDIT: The Ad Show, Car crash destroys bodies

Seat belts save lives.  SmartDrivers wear seatbelts, and their passengers do, too!


CREDIT: National Road Safety Foundation, One Second in Time