The next best thing to avoiding an accident is to follow car safety laws ordering the use of seat belts. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), seat belt use saved an estimated 12,546 lives in 2010 alone.
Even though studies have proven how effective seat belts can be at lowering your risk of injury in a crash, not all drivers automatically "sit down and buckle up." That's why law enforcement and highway safety officials across the nation participate in NHTSA's Click It or Ticket enforcement mobilization. This event usually occurs in the days leading up to and following Memorial Day weekend. To date, Click It or Ticket has helped increase the observed national safety belt usage rate from just 58% in 1994 to 85% in 2010.
The Click It or Ticket program includes round-the-clock enforcement to get drivers to buckle up — especially at night, since that's when belt use rates are the lowest. Also, law enforcement officers are specifically targeting men ages 18 to 34 because research shows they are less likely to wear seat belts.
In addition to always wearing your seat belt, it's important to wear it properly. When buckling up, be sure to:
- Situate the shoulder harness across your torso and chest, but not near your neck or face.
- Position the lap belt low across your hips. Your hip bones can handle more force than your stomach can.
- Give the strap a tug to make sure it's snug and secure.
- Wear both the shoulder strap and the lap belt. If the shoulder harness is positioned properly, it shouldn't rub or annoy you. No matter how tempting it may be to place it behind you, don't—your head and upper body rely on this component in a crash.
Older children can follow the adult guidelines for seat belt usage, but younger children have different seat belt and car safety regulations. These are especially important because vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Car seats should always be installed in the back seat of the vehicle, and the NHTSA recently declared that infants should ride in rear-facing seats "until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat's manufacturer."
The NHTSA also reports that 99% of infants, 92% of children 1 to 3 years old, and 89% of children 4 to 7 years old rode in the rear seat-proving that the word is getting out about car seat safety for kids.
Since 1998, airbags have been mandatory in cars, and you'll find some car models have more than others. These days airbags can be placed in the steering wheel, dashboard, door, roof, or even seat of your car. According to the NHTSA, 2,381 lives were saved by frontal air bags in 2009.
Every year car manufacturers come out with more ways to help keep you safe while you drive. This year was no exception. Learn more about the latest innovations in our 2011 North American International Show recap.
Because these devices lessen your risk of injury or death in a car accident, they may make you eligible for an auto insurance discount too. All told, Allstate offers more than 30 different homeowners and auto insurance discounts.
Now there's even more reason to strive for safety. Safe drivers can save 45% or more on car insurance at Allstate. Make sure you have the right auto insurance protection at the best price. Get an easy no-obligation quote, call us at 1-800-ALLSTATE (1-800-255-7828), or find an agent near you. Are you in Good Hands?
Published: June 2011