• May 8th, 2015

The national seat belt use rate in 2013 was 87 percent, up slightly from 86 percent in 2012. This is a substantial increase from 58 percent in 1994. 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 (DOT HS 812 080, January 2015).

In 2013, 21,132 occupants died in motor vehicle traffic crashes. Of the 21,132 passenger vehicle occupants killed, 9,777 were known to be restrained, as shown in Table 1. Restraint use was not known for 1,775 of the occupants. Looking at only occupants where the restraint status was known, 49 percent were unrestrained at the time of the crash.

The proportion of unrestrained passenger vehicle occupants killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes decreased from 2004 to 2013. Among passenger vehicle occupants killed, when restraint use was known, the percentage of unrestrained deaths decreased by 6 percentage points from 55 percent in 2004 to 49 percent in 2013.