Enjoy the holidays: Be seat belt safe – Osage County Online | Osage County News

Enjoy the holidays: Be seat belt safe

Holiday travel will be putting many of us on the roads over the next few weeks. This holiday season, the best gift we can give is to make it there safely, and help others to do so.

Seat belt use is one of the most effective ways to prevent death and serious injury in car crashes – reducing those risks by half. Nationwide, seat belts save around 14,000 lives per year.

Yet in many places, including Kansas, seat belt use remains too low. Kansas currently has a seat belt use rate of 82 percent, putting the state in the bottom third nationally for seat belt use.

Quick Kansas seat belt stats:

  • Women are more likely to be belted than men.
  • Trucks, which account for about one in five vehicles observed, have a substantially lower seat belt use rate (76 percent) than other vehicles (90-91 percent).
  • Male truck drivers are the lowest single category of belt users (75 percent).
  • Rural counties tend to produce a lower belt use rate than urban counties.
  • The more “local” the trip, the less likely occupants are to be buckled up.

More seat belt facts:

  • A 2006 NHTSA study of crash data found that 75 percent of drivers ejected during a car accident were killed. Only one percent of them were wearing a seat belt.
  • Seat belts are designed to spread crash forces across the stronger parts of the upper body. Injuries sustained when not wearing a seat belt can be up to five times greater. (Source: IIHS)
  • Unbelted passengers are a risk to others inside the vehicle in a car crash. In a frontal crash, an unbelted rear seat passenger sitting behind a belted driver increases the risk of fatality for the driver by 137 percent compared with a belted rear seat passenger. (Source: IIHS)
  • The SAFE (Seatbelts Are For Everyone) teen driver safety program, which promotes seatbelt use and other safe driving practices in 157 schools in 71 counties across the state.

Information thanks to Kansas Traffic Safety Resource Office.

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