Seat Belts

Buckle Up! Every Person, Every Seat, Every Time.

The Facts

  • American Indians and Alaska Natives are more at risk for getting injured or killed in a car crash than other Americans.1
  • Three out of every four passengers who died in car crashes on reservations were not wearing seat belts at the time of the crash.2
  • Wearing seat belts even when the car or truck has air bags, because airbags are designed to enhance the protection of seat belts.3

Seat belts reduce the risk of getting hurt or killed in a car crash by about half.

Help Keep Yourself and Your Loved Ones Safe

You can help keep yourself and your loved ones safe by:

  • Wearing a seat belt every time you ride in a car.
  • Buckling up the right way.
    • The lap belt goes across the hips, below the stomach.
    • The shoulder belt goes across the middle of the chest and over the shoulder.
    • Never put the shoulder belt behind your back or under your arm.
  • Wearing seat belts even when the car or truck has air bags. Air bags are made to work with seat belts, not by themselves.
  • Never riding in the bed of a truck.
  • Never using a seat belt to buckle more than one person at a time.
  • Wearing seat belts throughout pregnancy.
    • Place the lap portion of the belt under the belly, across the hips, and high on the thighs.
    • Place the shoulder belt across the chest and over the shoulder.
    • Never place straps directly across the stomach.
  • Buckling older children in a booster seat until the seat belt fits them properly. Seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs (not the stomach) and the shoulder belt lays across the chest (not the neck).
  • Using seat belt extenders if the seat belt is too small for you. You can buy these from car dealers and manufacturers.
References
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Injury mortality among American Indian and Alaska Native children and youth—United States, 1989–1998. MMWR Morb. Mortal. Wkly. Rep., 52 (30) (2003), pp. 697–701.
  2. U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Fatal motor vehicle crashes on Indian reservations 1975–2002. April 2004. DOT HS 809 727.
  3. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Final regulatory impact analysis amendment to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 208. Passenger car front seat occupant protection. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; 1984. DOT-HS-806-572.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control and the Indian Health Service Injury Prevention Program work in partnership with American Indian/Alaska Native communities to implement proven programs.


CDC Vital Signs: Motor Vehicle Crash Deaths. In 2013, the US crash death rate was more than twice the average of other high-income countries. www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/motor-vehicle-safety