Seat Belts

Belted Driver

Seat belts are the oldest form of occupant protection, with Volvo patenting the first rudimentary seat belt in 1889. However, it wasn't until 1968 that the federal government required seat belts to be installed in all new passenger cars.

Seat belt use rates have steadily increased over time. In 1994, the overall observed seat belt use rate was 58 percent. By 2016, belt use has reached 90%. Yet nearly half of all passenger vehicles occupants who are killed in crashes are unbuckled. In 2015, 48 percent of those killed were not restrained.1

GHSA Policy

Click here to view GHSA's Policy and Priorities on Occupant Protection.

Click It or Ticket

Click It or TicketClick It or Ticket is a national program to boost seat belt use and reduce highway fatalities through stepped up enforcement of seat belt laws, augmented by national and state media campaigns. It takes place each year around Memorial Day. Recent campaigns have focused on nighttime seat belt use because fewer people buckle up at night.

GHSA's State Highway Safety Office (SHSO) members provide funding for increased enforcement and work with law enforcement agencies and other partners to spread the word about the importance of seat belt use.

1 National Center for Statistics and Analysis. (2016, August). 2015 Motor Vehicle Crashes: Overview (Traffic Safety Facts Crash•Stats. Report No. DOT HS 812 318). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812318

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Laws

Seat belt laws are divided into two categories: primary and secondary. Primary seat belt laws allow law enforcement officers to ticket a driver or passenger for not wearing a seat belt, without any other traffic offense taking place. Secondary seat belt laws state that law enforcement officers may issue a ticket for not wearing a seat belt only when there is another citable traffic infraction.

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