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Seat Belts: Your Best Defense In a Crash

Do you always wear a seat belt when you’re in a car? They are your best defense during a car crash.

The primary purpose of the seat belt is to prevent you from being ejected from your car during an accident. They also spread crash forces over a wider part of the body. This significantly reduces your chance of injury and fatality.

In fact, with the proper use of seat belts you are 40 percent less likely to be fatally injured during a crash. With these odds, why wouldn’t everyone buckle up?

Virginia law requires seat belt use for drivers and front seat passengers 18 years of age and older, and for all passengers younger than 18. To be safe, make sure that all passengers in your vehicle are properly buckled up.

Remember, airbags do not replace the need for seat belts. When used with seat belts, airbags further reduce the risk of death or injury in the event of a crash.

Little-Known Seat Belt Facts

• Medical costs resulting from traffic crashes are twice as costly for occupants who are not belted.

• An insured driver who routinely wears a seat belt actually pays higher premiums each year to cover crash-related medical expenses for those who do not wear seat belts.

• When a driver is buckled with a seat belt, children are likely to be buckled 87 percent of the time. When a driver is not buckled in a seat belt, children are likely to be buckled only 24 percent of the time.

•Almost six out of seven U.S. drivers surveyed report that they always wear a seat belt when driving or riding in a motor vehicle. Seat belt use has become the national norm in most states, though rates of self-reported seat belt use vary widely from state to state, with a high of 94 percent (Oregon) and a low of 59 percent (North Dakota).