Teenagers are notoriously resistant to safety advice, and the statistics show that seat belt use is no exception. Sixty-eight percent of teens killed at night were not wearing their seat belts, and 57% of those killed during the day were unbuckled. Seat belt use is such a serious issue for federal officials that every year a campaign to improve seat belt use among all Americans is launched in the spring.
This year’s annual “Click It or Ticket” event, launched this month by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), will focus on seat belt use during nighttime driving – especially seat belt use by those between the ages of 16 and 20. Studies have found that seat belt use by drivers drops during the evening and nighttime hours, when the odds of being killed in an auto accident are 3 times as great as during the daytime.
Nighttime Seat Belt Facts
- Nationally, 64% of drivers and occupants killed at night were not wearing their seat belts
- The worst state for nighttime unrestrained motor vehicle fatalities is Rhode Island, where a full 87% of those killed were not wearing seat belts
- The state with the lowest percentage of unrestrained nighttime vehicle deaths – 43% – is California
- The hours between midnight and 3am have the highest percentage of auto accident fatalities (71%) where the victim was not wearing their seat belt
- Young drivers and passengers are more likely to not wear their seat belts at night
- More male drivers and passengers die while unrestrained than female drivers and passengers
- Pickup truck drivers are more likely than other types of automobile drivers to die at night while not wearing their seat belt
Texas Seat Belt Use
Recently published data from the NHTSA shows that there were 2,372 motor vehicle deaths in Texas where the victim was age 16 or over. Of these fatalities, 56% of those killed at night were unrestrained – which is better than the national average of 64%. During daytime hours, 38% of those killed in a vehicle accident were unrestrained, which again is better than the national average of 46%.
Teens Risk Their Lives at Night
An NHTSA administrator was quoted as saying that teen drivers and passengers frequently bring a "combination of inexperience and fearlessness" when they fail to use seat belts. Teenage attitudes about safety and automobiles are, the administrator says, "a deadly combination."
In addition to campaigns like “Click It or Ticket”, experts have recommended that states adopt licensing programs for new drivers that will prevent them from driving with other teenagers. Driving with friends is one factor that results in more accidents for young, inexperienced drivers. In addition, fatal teen auto accidents often involve the use of alcohol, which when combined with a careless attitude about seat-belt use explains the unfortunately high fatality numbers.
There is no greater pain than losing a loved one in an auto accident. If you or someone you love has suffered in a car or truck accident, then the attorneys at the Houston based law firm of VB Attorneys want to hear from you. To discuss your auto or truck accident case, please contact VB Attorneys today.