Importance of wearing a seat belt
By Ashleigh Petersen

Importance of wearing a seat belt

Take 5 for Safety is a monthly article designed to give equipment and event rental stores the information they need to conduct a five-minute safety meeting on a particular topic. Below are talking points for this month’s meeting. The Take 5 for Safety signup sheet can be downloaded below. This can be used to take attendance during the meeting. 

Introduction: One of the safest choices drivers and passengers can make is to buckle up. Numerous statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) confirm the importance of wearing a seat belt.

  • In the U.S., the percentage of people using a seat belt was 90.4 percent in 2021.
  • Of the 23,824 passenger vehicle occupants killed in 2020, 51 percent were not wearing seat belts — a 4 percent increase from 2019.
  • Seat belts saved an estimated 14,955 lives of occupants age five and older (National Center for Statistics and Analysis, 2019) and could have saved an additional 2,549 people if they had been wearing seat belts, in 2017 alone.
  • When lap/shoulder seat belts are used they 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.

Things to know about buckling up

Buckling up is the single most effective thing you can do to protect yourself in a crash. Seat belts are the best defense against impaired, aggressive and distracted drivers. Being buckled up during a crash helps keep you safe and secure inside your vehicle; being completely ejected from a vehicle is almost always deadly.

Air bags are designed to work with seat belts, not replace them. People not wearing a seat belt could be thrown into a rapidly opening frontal air bag. Such force could cause injury or death.

Guidelines to buckle up safely. The lap belt and shoulder belt are secured across the pelvis and rib cage, which are better able to withstand crash forces than other parts of your body.

  • Place the shoulder belt across the middle of your chest and away from your neck.
  • The lap belt rests across your hips, not your stomach.
  • Never put the shoulder belt behind your back or under an arm.

Fit matters. If you are operating a personal or company vehicle the seat belt should fit properly. If a roomier belt is needed, the vehicle manufacturer should be contacted so a seat belt extender may be obtained.

Source: NHTSA

Ashleigh Petersen

Ashleigh PetersenAshleigh Petersen

Ashleigh Petersen is the digital communications manager for Rental Management. She writes news and feature articles, plus coordinates the monthly Safety Issue and several sections in the magazine. Ashleigh loves spending time with her husband and young son, baking, gardening and listening to true crime and comedy podcasts.

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