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Seat Belts and Safety for California Drivers

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Buckle Up – Safety Equipment

The most important thing to remember is ALWAYS wear your seat belt. California maintains a mandatory seatbelt law. Also, be certain that all passengers in your vehicle wear their seat belts.

In the event of an accident, seat belts keep passengers restrained so they can’t injure you or each other. The seat belt design distributes the energy from a crash evenly to the pelvis and chest. These areas are two of the strongest in the body.

Always wear the belt properly across the lap with the shoulder strap snugly across your chest. Check the seat belts often to see they are functioning properly and can be adjusted with ease.

Safety Belts Save Lives and Dollars

From National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports

In 2003, safety belts saved society an estimated $63 billion in medical care, lost productivity, and other injury-related costs. In this same year, the needless deaths and injuries from safety belt non-use caused an estimated $18 billion in economic costs to society.

It is estimated safety belts saved more than 14,900 lives in the United States in 2003. Yet, during this same year, 56 percent of passenger vehicle occupants killed in traffic crashes were unrestrained. If all passenger vehicle occupants (over 4 years old) wore safety belts, more than 6,000 additional lives could have been saved.

Research has shown that lap/shoulder belts, when used properly, reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants by 45 percent and the risk of moderate to critical injury by 50 percent. For light-truck occupants, safety belts reduce the risk of fatal injury by 60 percent and moderate-to-critical injury by 65 percent.17

Safety belts should always be worn, even when riding in vehicles equipped with air bags. Air bags are designed to work with safety belts, not alone. In 2003, an estimated 2,488 lives were saved by air bags

Click It or Ticket

The Click It or Ticket (CIOT) seat belt enforcement campaign has helped create the highest national seat belt usage rate of 83 percent.

Click It or Ticket Mobilization Dates
The cornerstone of NHTSA’s seat belt communications program is the national Click It or Ticket May Mobilization. The primary audience continues to be men ages 18 to 34, which research shows are less likely to wear seat belts.

May 24 – June 6, 2010/May 23 – June 5, 2011

Air Bags

Air bags were designed to cushion the contact between a driver and the dashboard, steering wheel and, in many cars, vehicle doors. Air bags are intended to be used with seat belts. Children 12 years and under should ride in the rear seat, with seat belts securely fastened. If a child is riding in the front seat when an airbag deploys, the impact could potentially be fatal. Some vehicles allow passenger side air bags to be turned off.

Head Restraints

Position your head restraint properly to protect your head and neck in the event of an accident. The top of the head restraint should be near the top of your head.