Motor Vehicle Crash Prevention
Do you wear your seat belt on every trip?
About 38,000 people are killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes yearly in the United States. For adults and older children, seat belt use is one of the most effective ways to save lives and reduce injuries in crashes. Research has found that lap/shoulder seat belts, when used, reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants by 45 percent and the risk of moderate-to-critical injury by 50 percent. Yet millions do not buckle up on every trip.
There is proof that seat belts save lives and protect you in 5 different ways:
- Seat belts keep the occupants inside the vehicle. Occupants are FOUR times more likely to be killed when ejected from a vehicle than those who remain inside.
- Seat belts restrain the strongest parts of the body. For an older child and adult, this includes the hips and shoulders.
- Seat belts spread out any force from the collision by putting less stress on any one part of the body. This helps you to avoid serious injury.
- Seat belts help the body to slow down by extending the time it takes for you to slow down in a crash.
- Seat belts protect your brain and spinal cord. An injured spinal cord or brain injury can have serious consequences.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 38,824 people died in traffic crashes nationwide in 2020. In 45% of the motor vehicle fatal crashes, the drivers of passenger vehicles were engaged in at least one of the following risky behaviors: speeding, alcohol impairment, or not wearing a seat belt. 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.
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According to NHTSA, there were 638 traffic fatalities here in Arkansas in 2020. Of those 638 traffic fatalities, 445 happened in rural areas throughout the state. 166 of those were alcohol-impaired.
- Daytime Front Seat (Outboard Only) Passenger Vehicle Occupants, Aged 5 and Over, by Restraint Use: Fatalities and Observed Arkansas, the U.S., and Best State
- Fatalities and Observed Arkansas , U.S. and Best State
Rules/Laws: Act 1776 of 2003, House Bill 2594
Arkansas Code 27-37-702. Seat belt use required -- Applicability of subchapter.
- (a) Each driver and front seat passenger in any motor vehicle operated on a street or highway in this state shall wear a properly adjusted and fastened seat belt properly secured to the vehicle.
- (b) This subchapter shall not apply to the following:
- (1) Passenger automobiles manufactured before July 1, 1968, and all other motor vehicles manufactured before January 1, 1972;
- (2) Passengers and drivers with a physical disability that contraindicates the use of a seat belt, and which condition is certified by a physician who states the nature of the disability as well as the reason the use of a seat belt is inappropriate;
- (3) Children who require protection and are properly restrained under The Child Passenger Protection Act, 27-34-101 et seq.; and
- (4) Drivers who are rural letter carriers of the United States Postal Service while performing their duties as rural letter carriers.
- (c) Except as provided in subdivision (b)(4), each driver or passenger who is seated in a wheelchair in a motor vehicle shall:
- (1) Wear a properly adjusted and fastened seat belt properly secured to the wheelchair; and
- (2) Have the wheelchair properly secured in the motor vehicle.
- Arkansas State Police/Highway Safety Office
- National Traffic Safety Data
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Arkansas Traffic Safety Facts
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Releases 2020 Traffic Crash Fatality Data
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Policy Impact: Seat Belts
- Arkansas State Legislature
- Act 1776 of 2003, House Bill 2594
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