Wearing a seat belt continues to be among the best ways to prevent accident injuries should a crash occur. The many benefits of wearing a seat belt – as well as the types of adverse outcomes that can occur if a seat belt is not being worn during a vehicle accident – is discussed on the “Seat Belts As A DuPage County Injury Prevention Measure” page. As discussed on that page, one of the primary benefits of wearing a seat belt is that by doing so a person is far less likely to be ejected during a vehicle accident. For those unaware, being ejected from a vehicle means that the vehicle occupant is partially or fully thrown from the vehicle. As also discussed, should someone be ejected from the vehicle, a broad range of serious accident injuries can occur, and often these injuries lead to fatalities.
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) issued a media release on November 21, 2017 titled “IDOT, ISP to Motorists: Survive the Thanksgiving Drive.” (pdf) Among statistics cited in the release are those regarding the percentage of fatal crashes in which vehicle occupants are not wearing seat belts at the time of a crash.
Notable excerpts include:
IDOT is partnering with the Illinois State Police and more than 150 law enforcement agencies to increase patrols and checkpoints throughout the state. The enforcement effort began Nov. 17 and runs through the early morning hours of Nov. 27. A high concentration of patrols will occur between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., when seat-belt use declines and a higher percentage of alcohol related crashes and fatalities occur.
Though the seat-belt usage rate in Illinois in 2016 was 93 percent, those who travel unbuckled represent a large percentage of traffic-related fatalities. Of the 1,078 people who died in 2016 crashes, only 57 percent were wearing their seat belt. Illinois law requires that all vehicle occupants wear seat belts. Not wearing a seat belt drastically increases the occupant’s risk of being injured or killed in the event of a crash.
Additional details can be seen in the sources mentioned above.