Americans Use Seatbelts More Than Ever Before image

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 86% of the US population is using the seatbelts.

In 2011 the report was showing that 84% of the drivers and passengers were using the seatbelts, which means 3.1 million people more compared with 2010. But the NHTSA said that data gathered so far this year shows that the percentage has increased to 86%, more than ever before. The biggest gain was reached in the South where the percentage has increased from 80% in 2011 to 85% this year, but the West folks are the ones to hold the title of “Most Safety-Conscious”, with 94%. In the North east only 80% of the population wears seatbelts.

Of course the seatbelt usage percentage is the highest in states where the failure to wear the seatbelt is considered a primary offense. Therefore in these 32 states with stricter laws the percentage is 90%. In the 17 states where failure to wear the seatbelt is considered a secondary offense the percentage is 78%.

Anyhow the numbers are way better compared with 54% in 1994, when the NHTSA began tracking usage. With the increase of Americans buckling up, the traffic fatality rate has steadily dropped. NHTSA estimates that in 2010 seatbelts saved 12,546 lives.

Historical seat belt use in the United States
1984-2010

Year % Year % Year %

2010

85[1]

2001

73

1992

62

2009

84[4]

2000

71

1991

59

2008

83[2]

1999

67

1990

49

2007

82[2]

1998

69

1989

46

2006

81

1997

69

1988

45

2005

82

1996

68

1987

42

2004

80

1995

68

1986

37

2003

79

1994

67

1985

21

2002

75

1993

66

1984

14