Seatbelts Are Still the Safest “Technology” in Your Car

Despite the fact that roughly 85% of motorists used their safety belts in 2009, nearly half of passengers killed in traffic crashes that year (about 11,500) were not buckled up. So, while automakers continue using technological advancements to make vehicles safer, the easiest and safest thing everyone can (and should) do is use a traditional, yet proven safety device that goes back more than five decades: the 3-point safety belt.

Since the invention of the modern seat belt more than 50 years ago, enormous advancements in vehicle safety have been made with technologies such as front and side airbags, electronic stability control, child safety seats and so on. Among the latest advances, GM debuted a new front-center airbag that is designed to deploy between the driver and front seat passenger during a side-impact collision. These kinds of technological improvements have drastically reduced the risk of injury and death in the event of an accident, but none of them have a greater life-saving capability than the seat belt.

Between 1975—when the 3-point front seat belt became standard in all U.S. cars—and 2009, seat belts have been responsible for saving an estimated 267,890 lives. That’s an average of nearly 11,000 people each year – wives, husbands, brothers, sisters and children – who are alive today because they simply clicked in before they hit the road. Seat belt usage has increased dramatically over the years, with primary or secondary laws now in place in 49 states and the District of Columbia. And yet, despite today’s increasingly high rate of seatbelt usage, we shouldn’t be satisfied as thousands of lives are still lost on our roads each year because they were unbuckled.

The new in-vehicle safety technology becoming available is wonderful, but we should always remember that the simplest thing we can do to protect ourselves from being injured or killed in a crash is use a safety belt. Help protect your family and friends by setting a positive example of always buckling up, no matter how long or short the trip.

Don’t take chances, take action—buckle up.