Healthy Communities

Motor Vehicle Crash Prevention

Do you wear your seat belt on every trip?

About 38,000 people are killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes yearly in the United States. For adults and older children, seat belt use is one of the most effective ways to save lives and reduce injuries in crashes. Research has found that lap/shoulder seat belts, when used, reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants by 45 percent and the risk of moderate-to-critical injury by 50 percent.  Yet millions do not buckle up on every trip.

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

  1. 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.
  2. Seat belts restrain the strongest parts of the body. For an older child and adult, this includes the hips and shoulders.
  3. Seat belts spread out any force from the collision by putting less stress on any one part of the body. This helps you to avoid serious injury.
  4. Seat belts help the body to slow down by extending the time it takes for you to slow down in a crash.
  5. 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 Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 38,824 people died in traffic crashes nationwide in 2020. In 45% of the motor vehicle fatal crashes, the drivers of passenger vehicles were engaged in at least one of the following risky behaviors: speeding, alcohol impairment, or not wearing a seat belt. In 2017 alone, seat belts saved an estimated 14,955 lives and could have saved an additional 2,549 people if they had been wearing seat belts.

For more information, click here.

Arkansas Data

According to NHTSA, there were 638 traffic fatalities here in Arkansas in 2020. Of those 638 traffic fatalities, 445 happened in rural areas throughout the state. 166 of those were alcohol-impaired.


Rules/Laws: Act 1776 of 2003, House Bill 2594

Arkansas Code 27-37-702. Seat belt use required -- Applicability of subchapter.



Office Address Phone Fax
Substance Misuse & Injury Prevention 4815 West Markham Street, Slot 10
Little Rock, AR  72205
501-683-0707 501-682-0427

Public Health Accrediation Board
Arkansas Department of Health
© 2017 Arkansas Department of Health. All Rights Reserved.
4815 W. Markham, Little Rock, AR 72205-3867