ESTIMATES OF MOTOR VEHICLE SEAT BELT EFFECTIVENESS AND USE: IMPLICATIONS FOR OCCUPANT CRASH PROTECTION

Estimates of the effectiveness of seat belts, when used, in reducing motor vehicle occupant deaths vary widely. In fact, deaths occur only 50 percent less often to belted compared to nonbelted vehicle occupants in crashes, according to previously unanalyzed data from three U.S. states during recent years. A recently publicized claim by one analyst that seat belts reduce vehicle occupant deaths 75 percent is based on studies found to contain fundamental systematic error. Moreover, surveys of observed belt use in 1975 U.S. cars indicate that two-thirds of drivers were not using belts. Prospects for widespread adoption and enforcement of belt use laws in the U.S. are not encouraging. Substantial reductions in fatal and other injuries would result from the adoption of requirements mandating automatic (passive) protection for front seat occupants in crashes with forward decelerations.

Media Info

  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 24 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00134736
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Highway Safety Research Institute
  • Report/Paper Numbers: HS-018 509
  • Files: HSL, TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 4 1983 12:00AM