There’s a good reason to buckle up every time you get in the car. Seat belts have saved hundreds of thousands of lives in the past decade alone. Further, the rate of car crash fatalities has dropped dramatically due to “primary enforcement laws,” which allow police officers to pull over any driver not wearing a seat belt. In states without such laws, in contrast, seat belt use remains significantly lower, while car crash fatalities remain relatively higher.
Still, car crashes remain a leading cause of death among children in the United States. Car seat and seat belt use reduces the risk of death to infants by up to 71% and reduces the risk of death to toddlers by up to 54%.
Additionally, 33% of children who died in car crashes in 2011 were not buckled up.
This number has declined in the past several years, but not among African-American or Hispanic children. Up to 46% did not wear seat belts, compared with 29% of white children who did not.