Health & Safety

June 8, 2012

Critical Days of Summer

Seat belts save lives

by Senior Airman Melanie Holochwost
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

– Car accidents are the leading cause of death for ages 5 through 34 in the U.S.

– More than 2.3 million drivers and passengers were treated in emergency rooms as the result of being injured in car accidents in 2009.

– If you’re in the front seat during a crash, wearing a seat belt can improve your chance of survival by 50 percent.

 

Q. What if I’m just driving a short distance?

A. Statistically, this is actually the most critical time to wear a seat belt. About 80 percent of traffic-related deaths occur within 25 miles of the home when driving under 40 mph.

Q. I’m a really good driver. Do I need to wear a seat belt?

A. Yes. Although your good driving record may help you avoid accidents, a bad driver can still hit you.

Q. I have a newer vehicle with airbags. Do I still need to wear a seat belt?

A. Yes. Although an air bag increases the effectiveness of a seat belt by 40 percent, air bags were never meant to replace seat belts. Sometimes air bags don’t work. And, air bags don’t normally protect against side impacts.

Q. But what if the seat belt traps me in the car?

A. Only a very small percent of accidents involve fire or water. But even in those circumstances, you can get out of a vehicle a lot faster with a seat belt on than if you were knocked unconscious inside your car due to not wearing a seat belt. 

 

Behind the numbers

 

40,000+ people die in car accidents every year

9,500 lives are estimated to be saved each year by seat belts

75% of people who are ejected from a vehicle during a crash will die as a result

20-50% of deaths in car accidents could have been prevented if a seatbelt was worn




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