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%. In 2018, belt use had reached 90%. Yet nearly half of all passenger vehicle occupants who are killed in crashes are unbuckled. In 2018, among passenger vehicle occupants killed who had known restraint use, almost half (47%) were unrestrained.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, coupled with 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. (2019, October). 2018 fatal motor vehicle crashes: Overview. (Traffic Safety Facts Research Note. Report No. DOT HS 812 826). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.



Seat belt laws are divided into two categories: primary and secondary. Specific laws vary greatly from state to state, depending on the age of the rider and in which seat he or she is sitting.

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