How many people in the US do actually wear seat belts while driving? What’s the seat belt usage difference between genders and ages?
We polled 1501 US residents in order to find that out…
In this article we put together the result of our proprietary research for USA seat belt statistics as well as some other numbers.
USA Seat Seat Belts Usage Statistics 2022 – Key Findings
- 77.9% reported wearing the seat belt the last time they were in the car
- 11.8% didn’t remember wearing the seatbelt the last time they were in the car
- 10.2% reported not wearing the seat belt last time they were in the car
- The 65+ age group was able to recall wearing the seat belt the most: 88.8%
- The 25-34 age group does not remember wearing OR not wearing the seat belt the most: 17%
- The 25-34 age group is the most likely one to not wear the seatbelt: 17.2%
Seat Belt Deaths Per Year
How many people die each year from not wearing seat belts?
- Approximately 2,549 could have survived every year if they were buckled up (source: United States Department of Transportation)
How Many People Did Seat Belts Save in 2020?
- Approximately 14,955 people were saved in 2017 because they were restrained (source: United States Department of Transportation)
Overall, Females Are More Likely To Have The Seat Belt Put On
As expected, the results were different by gender:
- 75.2% males recalled using the seat belt
- 80.5% females recalled using the seat belt
Overall, females were 7% more likely to recall using the seat belt when compared to males.
Self-Reported Seat Belt Use Broken Down By Age Groups
Based on the results, we can make the following observation:
- Almost 9 out of 10 people (88%) over the age of 65 reported having the seat belt put on
- 85% of people that fall into 55-64 age group report use the seat belt
- People from 35-44 and 45-54 age groups report using the seat belts almost identically – 75.4% and 76.5%
- Only 65.8% of those in 25-34 age group reported having the seat belt on the last time they were in the car
Age Groups With The Least Seat Belt Use
We discovered that the following age groups reported not having the seat belt put on the most:
For 18-24 age group, when asked “Did you have the seat belt put on the last time you were in the car?” the breakdown by gender for the answer “No” was as follows:
- Males: 16.7%
- Females: 16.7%
For 25-34 age group, when asked “Did you have the seat belt put on the last time you were in the car?” the breakdown by gender for the answer “No” was as follows:
- Males: 13.2%
- Females: 22%
Based on the above, we can infer that a female that falls into the 25-34 category is 66.7% more likely to report not having the seat belt put on the last time they were in the car!
The “Don’t Remember” Group
- Overall, the largest amount of “don’t remember” answers occurred in 25-34 age group – 17%
However, when adjusted by gender, the “don’t remember” answers dominated different age groups:
- 18.4% of all males in 25-34 age group didn’t remember whether they used the seat belt or not
- 17.9% of all females in 35-44 age group didn’t remember whether they used the seat belt or not
Importance of Seatbelts: Seat Belt Deaths Statistics
United States Department of Transportation provides the following numbers of seat belt related death prevalence:
- Seat belt use in passenger vehicles saved an estimated 14,955 lives in 2017
- Of the 23,824 passenger vehicle occupants killed in 2020, 51% were not wearing seat belts
- 58% of those killed during the nighttime in 2020 were unrestrained
Are Seat Belts Not Used Enough in The US?
Based on the self-reported data obtained, we can assume that seatbelts in the US can still be used more frequently by more people.
The 25-34 age category, particularly females, appear to be the group that is most prone to not using the seatbelts.
The 65+ age group, on the other hand, indicates the most thorough seat belt use.
We should also take into account the self-reported nature of our data that may be skewed by:
- Social desirability
- Cognitive processes
- Survey conditions
Therefore it’s important to not make final decisions without looking into the matter closer.
Does Our Data Reflect The Official Data?
No it doesn’t.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (US Department of Transportation) published an article titled “Seat Belt Use in 2021 – Overall Results” dated to December, 2021.
They observed the following results:
The national estimate of seat belt use by adult front-seat passengers in 2021 was 90.4 percent, not statistically different (at the 0.05 level) from 90.3 percent observed in 2020 (source)
While we haven’t specifically polled front-seat passengers, we deem the difference in the results quite significant – 90.4% in NHTSA study vs 77.9% in our research.
Sure, the discrepancy may well be coming from the front vs back passenger seat belt use.
In fact, in the 2019 report by Governors Highway Safety Association, the use of rear seat belts was reported to be considerably lower:
Of the 3,953 respondents who sometimes rode in the rear seat of a passenger vehicle, 61.6% reported that they always wore their belt in the rear seat, compared to 86.1% who said they always wore their belt in the front seat (Bhat et al, 2015; Beck et al., 2019)
In other words, an average person was 28.4% less likely to wear a seat belt once they were sitting in the back.
Are Rear Seat Belts Important?
A study by Bose et al. (2013) reports that in a frontal crash, an unbelted rear seat passenger sitting behind a belted driver increases the risk of fatality for the driver by 137 percent compared with a belted rear seat passenger.
Seat belts, no matter where people sit, should be used during the entire duration of the trip.
We polled 1502 people using Google Surveys in the US during July, 2022.
We asked one single question: “Did you have the seat belt put on the last time you were in the car?”
The three answer options were:
- Don’t Remember
- RMSE score – 8.4% (small overall sample bias)
- Answers were randomized (i.e. answer options were randomly shown at a different order)
- Results were weighted by Age and Gender to remove bias from the survey sample and make the results more closely represent the target population
Survey Data Access
If you need raw data or more information, feel free to reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org