Gene LaDoucer (701) 282-6222

04 February 2009

With at least 45 percent effectiveness, safety belts are the single most effective means of reducing the risk of death in a crash and save more than 15,000 lives each year in the United States.

According to government data, if everyone consistently wore a seat belt, more than 5,000 American deaths could be prevented each year.

AAA supports primary seat belt laws, which have been shown to reduce a state’s motor vehicle fatalities by an average of 8 percent.

Key Facts:

  • Seat belts can reduce the risk of death or injury due to an automobile collision by 45 percent to 60 percent, making it the single most effective means to reduce the risk of death in a crash.
  • Nationally, more than 75 percent of passenger vehicle occupants who are totally ejected from the vehicle are killed. Seat belts are effective in preventing total ejections.
  • In 2007, 92 people died while riding in cars and light trucks in North Dakota. Of these, 68 percent died while not wearing their seat belts compared to 54 percent nationwide.
  • Over 96 percent of North Dakota’s traffic fatalities occur in rural areas; the fatality rate is 11 times higher in rural areas than in urban areas.
  • Primary seat belt laws increase seat belt use by at least 15 percent and decrease fatalities by an average of 8 percent.


North Dakota law currently requires seat belt use, but law enforcement can only ticket a driver after observing another traffic offense. With or without a primary seat belt law, AAA urges drivers to require seat belt use by all occupants of vehicles every trip, every time.