Of the 37,133 people who lost their lives in motor vehicle collisions in 2017, 47% were not wearing seat belts, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Now a new group of stakeholders wants to help reduce those numbers and has declared Nov. 14 National Seat Belt Day.
Volvo Cars USA, Uber, and the Governors Highway Safety Association have joined forces, set the special day, and are promoting a shared mission of encouraging people to always use a seat belt.
Going forward, Nov. 14 will serve as a yearly reminder of the importance of in-vehicle safety regardless of whether one is a driver or passenger.
Seat belts remain one of our most important and basic safety features in motor vehicles. In 2017 alone, seat belts saved an estimated 14,955 lives and could have saved an additional 2,549 people if they had been wearing seat belts, according to NHTSA.
Research shows that if you buckle up in the front seat of a passenger car, you can reduce your risk of fatal injury by 45% and your risk of moderate to critical injury by 50%. Moreover, if you buckle up in a light truck, you can reduce your risk of fatal injury by 60% and your likelihood of moderate to critical injury by 65%.
Many people understand the lifesaving value of the seat belt and comply with its usage. In fact, the national use rate for seat belts in 2018 was at 89.6%.
Even so, the stakeholders behind National Seat Belt Day believe we can do even more to educate and remind people to buckle up at all times. For example, four out of five adults say they don't always use a seat belt when taking short trips or when in the backseat of a taxi or ride-hailing vehicle, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
National Seat Belt Day comes 60 years after Volvo became the first to offer three-point safety belts on its vehicles. Since its introduction in 1959, the seat belt is estimated to have saved more than 1 million lives.