By Mary Motzko | May 21st, 2019 | | 0 Comments

The first thing most people do when getting into a vehicle – either as a passenger or a driver – is buckle their seat belt. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 89.6 percent of passengers used their seat belts in 2018.

But for some, this safety measure isn’t always taken.

As runs its Click It Or Ticket campaign May 20 through June 2, learn why it’s important to buckle your seat belt every time you ride in a vehicle – no matter the distance you are traveling.

Seat Belts are the Best Protection in a Crash

The NHTSA reports that in 2017, 14,955 lives were saved because of seat belts. Wearing a seat belt helps keep passengers safe and secure inside their vehicle during a crash. The administration states that passengers who are ejected from a vehicle have high fatality rates.

Air Bags Do Not Replace Seat Belts

While newer vehicles are equipped with safety devices, like air bags, these should not replace seat belts. According to the NHTSA, if a passenger is projected into a deploying air bag without the restraint of the seat belt, the force could cause severe injuries – or even death – to the passenger. Instead, air bags are designed to work with seat belts.

Seat Belts Need to be Worn Correctly to be Effective

In order to work properly, seat belts need to be worn correctly. The NHTSA provides the following guidelines:

  • Make sure the lap belt and shoulder belt go across the pelvis and rib cage.
  • Place the shoulder belt across the middle of the chest and away from the neck.
  • Rest the lap belt across your hips and not across your stomach.
  • Do not put the shoulder belt behind your back or under your arm.

Seat Belts Should Fit Properly

In addition to wearing your seat belt properly, the NHTSA also states passengers need to ensure seat belts fit correctly. Passengers should make sure the seat belt fits and adjusts to hit all of the correct areas outlined above. Vehicles can be updated with seat belt extenders or safer lap and shoulder belt if needed.