Healthy Communities

Motor Vehicle Crash Prevention

Do you wear your seat belt every trip? Are your children, front seat passenger and/or back seat passenger(s) properly belted?

There is proof that seat belts save lives and protect you in 5 different ways:

Seat belts keep the occupants inside the vehicle. Occupants are FOUR times more likely to be killed when ejected from a vehicle than those who remain inside.

Seat belts restrain the strongest parts of the body. For an older child and adult, this includes the hips and shoulders.

Seat belts spread out any force from the collision by putting less stress on any one part of the body.

Seat belts help the body to slow down by extending the time it takes for you to down in a crash.

Seat belts protect your brain and spinal cord. An injured spinal cord or brain injury can have serious consequences.


Nationwide Data

According to the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2016, seat belt use in passenger vehicles saved an estimated 14,668 lives and could have saved an additional 2,456 people if they had been wearing seat belts.

Of the 37,461 people killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2016, 48 percent were not wearing seat belts. 


Arkansas Data

Each year NHTSA’s National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS) is performed in Arkansas. From 2011-2015 Arkansas had 2,606 fatalities. In 2015, there were 531 fatalities. Of these fatalities, approximately 70 percent were passenger vehicle occupants (in all seat positions). Of those, 151 were restrained, 190 were unrestrained, and 32 were unknown. 14% of lives lost may have been saved if they had been using their seat belt at the time of the crash.

 In 2016, Arkansas’ weighted seat belt usage rate was 75.1 percent while the national usage rate was 90.1 percent. In FY13, the Legislature passed an amendment to allow the addition of court costs to the seat belt citation increasing the cost of a ticket for not wearing a seat belt to approximately $90. There were 22,407 seat belt citations given in 2016.

The Arkansas Highway Safety Office (AHSO) has collaborated with the Arkansas Department of Health- Substance Misuse and Injury Prevention Branch to increase seat belt use. The program is currently being implemented at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock and will soon expand to other universities in the future.

Educational Programs

Public Health Accrediation Board
Arkansas Department of Health
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4815 W. Markham, Little Rock, AR 72205-3867