2019 SafeTREC Traffic Safety Facts: Occupant Protection


Restraint devices such as seat belts are a key element of motor vehicle occupant protection systems. Each year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducts the National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS) that measures, among many variables, the use of seat belts by occupants age eight and older. The 2018 NOPUS reported an 89.6 percent front seat belt use rate for the nation as a whole, which was essentially level with the 89.7 percent rate in 2017. However, it reflects a significant decrease in the seat belt use rate in the western region from 94.5 percent in 2017 to 92.7 percent in 2018. Drivers had an 89.9 percent use rate and right-front passengers had an 88.7 percent use rate. States with a primary seat belt use law had a seat belt use rate of 90.6 percent compared to 86.4 percent in other states.

Fortin, Garrett
Cooper, Jill F.
Publication date: 
October 15, 2019
Publication type: 
Fact Sheet