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REPORT: Seat Belts Increase Safety In Collisions

In our last post we discussed a fatal Chicago car crash which killed three people. It is unknown whether any of the occupants of that car were using a seat belt at the time of the crash, or whether seat belt use played a factor in the severity of the accident.

Seat belt use is a major factor in surviving a car accident. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, over half of the car accident deaths this year involved people improperly used (or unused) restraint devices.

A snapshot view of 2013 Illinois fatal crash data indicates that 23 people have died so far this year while using seat belts. Another 25 people died while unbuckled or improperly using a restraint device.

These numbers do not include car accident deaths where the restraint usage was unclear. Restraint usage could be unclear for several reasons including situations where an emergency rescue team arrives before police officers, seat belt use is not reported, or in situations where a car is so badly damaged that seat belt use is unknowable.

There have been 84 car accident deaths in Illinois this year in 68 crashes. This is an increase over last year’s to-date crash number of 76. Only three of this year’s fatalities were caused by drivers who did not have a valid license.