LIVEWELL MINUTE: Teen Seat Belt Safety

Teenagers have a higher crash risk than all other age groups in the United States. This can be attributed to both driving inexperience and a greater propensity for risk-taking behaviors. Also, teens often ride with other teens. Because of these factors, this age group faces substantially elevated risks for injury and death from traffic crashes.

Kathy Leggett, Center for Advocacy and Outreach, Blank Children’s Hospital says, “Teenagers’ failure to wear seat belts compounds their already higher crash risk. Studies have routinely shown that seat belt use among teenagers is lower than among older age groups, and lower among teenage passengers than among teenage drivers.”

Back-seat passengers pose a risk not only to themselves but to other passengers in the vehicle. A driver’s risk of death is 2.27 times higher when there is an unbelted rider sitting behind him or her. Lap/shoulder belts, when used in the back seat of a car, are 44 percent effective in reducing fatalities.

Leggett says, “Riding unrestrained is the greatest risk factor for death and injury among child passengers in motor vehicles. Protect your children by making sure they ride right at all times.”



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