• April 8th, 2016

When seat belt use is examined for the Nation, not limited to fatal crash data, the use rate was 87 percent in 2014. In 2005 the national seat belt use rate was 82 percent. This information comes from the National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS) which is the only survey that provides nationwide probability-based observed data on seat belt use in the United States (Pickrell & Choi, 2015).

In 2014, there were 21,022 occupants of passenger vehicles killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes. Of these 21,022 occupants, 9,958 (51%) were known to be restrained, as shown in Table 1. Looking at only occupants where the restraint status was known, 49 percent were unrestrained at the time of the crash. Restraint use was not known for 1,679 occupants.

The proportion of unrestrained passenger vehicle occupants killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes has decreased from 2005 to 2014. Among passenger vehicle occupants killed, when restraint use was known, the percentage of unrestrained deaths decreased by 6 percentage points from 55 percent in 2005 to 49 percent in 2014.