Thanks to the introduction of mandatory seat belt laws and safety campaigns such as Click It or Ticket, seat belt use in the United States has reached an all-time high in recent years. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that compliance is now up to 90.4% across the United States. This is up from just 70.7% in 2000. While this is encouraging, far too many people still do not buckle up. Of the 22,215 people killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2019 nationwide, 47% were not wearing seat belts. In 2019 alone, seat belts saved an estimated 14,955 lives in the US, and statistics suggest another 2,549 people could have been saved if they had been wearing seat belts.
Don’t Make Excuses
People often offer excuses for not buckling up, but there is never a good reason to not buckle up, in every seat, on every ride. Not wearing a seat belt doesn’t make you cool, and it doesn’t make you a rebel. It makes you a dangerous projectile during a crash. Not only does it reduce the likelihood of your survival, but it also dramatically increases the chances of you hurting someone else. Front seat passengers may be seriously injured or killed by unbelted backseat passengers in a crash.
It’s the Law
Whether you’re a Maryland resident or just driving through the state, our seat belt laws apply to you. All drivers and passengers must wear seat belts at all times. If you’re a driver, front seat passenger, or back seat passenger under age 16, these laws are subject to primary enforcement. That means police can ticket you for these seat belt violations alone. Separate tickets will be written for each unrestrained passenger, including the driver, in addition to any other violations.
The Numbers Speak for Themselves
The facts are clear: seat belts save lives.
- Three-point seat belts reduce the risk of fatal injury by 45% in cars and 60% in light trucks.
- Unrestrained passengers are 30 times as likely to be ejected during a crash.
- Of those ejected, more than three-quarters die from their injuries.
The goal of Click It or Ticket is not to hand out as many tickets as possible. It is to educate, improve seat belt compliance, and save lives. The combination of education and enforcement has been wildly successful since the campaign’s inception in 1993. The mission to increase seat belt usage must continue until 100% of drivers and passengers buckle up every time they get in the car. Buckle up and Be The Driver Who Saves Lives.