Idaho’s Safety Restraint Issue – 2013

An unrestrained passenger motor vehicle occupant is killed every 3.8 days.

The cost of crashes involving unrestrained occupants was $773 million in 2013.

(Idaho Traffic Crashes 2013)


Idaho’s observed safety restraint use rate decreased slightly from 81.6% in 2013 to 80.2% in 2014 .  While the observed seat belt use rate was 80%, only 44% of the motor vehicle occupants killed in crashes were wearing seat belts.  If everyone had been wearing seat belts, 34 of the 67 unbelted motor vehicle occupants may have been saved. (Idaho Traffic Crashes 2014)


Lives Lost & People Injured
  • Safety restraints, when used, are the most effective safety feature ever introduced for vehicles, cutting in half the likelihood for fatal and serious injuries resulting from traffic crashes.  (Traffic Safety Facts 2012, NHTSA).   By this estimate there were 54 lives saved in 2014 by seat belt usage and an additional 34 lives could have been save if everyone had buckled up.
  • In 2014, 67 Idahoans killed in car crashes were not wearing their safety restraints.  In addition, 267 unbelted Idahoans were critically injured in traffic crashes.  (Idaho Traffic Crashes 2014)
  • In 2014, 59% of occupants killed in DUI crashes were not buckled up and 59% of those killed in speed-related crashes were not buckled up. 
  • In 2014, 60 people were killed in single-vehicle rollover crashes, only 14 or 23% were wearing seat belts or in a child safety seat. 
  • Seat belts are estimated to be even more effective in preventing fatalities in rollover crashes.  Seat belt use reduces fatalities by 74% in rollover crashes involving passenger cars and by 80% in rollover crashes involving light trucks. (This effectiveness info from Fatality Reduction by Safety Belts for Front Seat Occupants of Cars and Light Trucks, NHTSA, DOT HS 809 199) 
  • In 2014, the 20% of Idahoans that did not buckle up accounted for 55% of the passenger vehicle occupants killed in traffic crashes. 
  • When used properly, NHTSA estimates that seat belts (lap/shoulder belts) reduce the risk of fatal injury to front seat passenger car occupants by 45 percent and the risk of moderate-to-severe injury by 50 percent.  Seat belts are even more effective for light truck occupants, reducing the fatality risk by 60 percent and the moderate-to-serious injury risk by 65 percent. (Traffic Safety Facts 2013, NHTSA) 
  • Rear seat car occupants, seat belts reduce the risk of fatal injury by 44 percent.  For rear seat passenger van and sport utility vehicle occupants, seat belts reduce the risk of fatal injury by 73 percent. (DOT HS 808 945, NHTSA Technical Report, 1999)


Who Are the Unbelted Killed

Idaho Unrestrained Passenger Vehicle Occupant Fatality Profile: 2010-2014

  • There were 688 passenger vehicle occupants killed in traffic crashes in the last 5 years (from 2010 to 2014).  Of the 688 killed, 385 (56%) were unrestrained.
  • Teen Of the 87 teen passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes, 68% (54) were unrestrained.
  • Males - Males are less likely than women to buckle up.  In Idaho, men comprised 61% of all the passenger vehicle occupants killed.  Of the 419 male passenger vehicle occupants killed from 2010-2014, 60% (250) were unrestrained, while 50% (135)of the 269 female passenger vehicle occupants killed from 2010-2014 were unrestrained.
  • Rural Roads - Crashes occurring on rural roads accounted for 84% of the passenger vehicle occupants killed.  Of the 357 passenger vehicle occupants killed on rural roads over the last 3 years, 61% (218) were unrestrained.