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Seat belt use is up overall, but down for teens

We have all heard the phrase "click-it or ticket." It has been a nationwide movement for years to increase seat belt use, and therefore, safety.

People remember to buckle up before heading out on the road much more than they used to even 20 years ago. But there is still a long way to go--especially considering that many Pennsylvania teenagers might not be using their seat belts at all.

A new study says teens are not buckling up

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently reported some good news: nearly 88% of Pennsylvanians use their seat belts. However, the report also stated that one out of six people still does not use their seat belt. And most of those individuals are teenagers or young adults. 

Teen seat belt use has been a problem for many years

The lack of seat belt use is not a new issue for teens. On average, more than half of teenagers and young adults killed in auto accidents did not wear seat belts.

The reason for teenagers' lack of use is uncertain. They might think they are uncomfortable or even "uncool." But it is more likely that teenagers will forego their seat belt when they are in a vehicle with their peers. 

How can parents increase teen seat belt use?

These statistics undoubtedly leave Lehigh Valley parents feeling alarmed. However, there are steps that parents can take to increase the rate of seat belt use in teens, including:

  • Keeping them informed: The NHTSA provides incredibly helpful information, including the fact that wearing a seat belt can reduce the chance of injury by nearly 50% in a motor vehicle accident. Reviewing this information and proper seat belt use with teens can be beneficial.
  • Talking about the consequences: Not wearing a seat belt increases both the chances of life-changing injuries and death in a car crash. It is critical that teenagers understand the risks that come with not buckling up.
  • Modeling good behavior: Parents should ensure they use their seat belts every time they are either a driver or a passenger in a vehicle. If teenagers see their parents model the behavior, they are more likely to do it as well.

Teenagers make mistakes. But parents can help to make sure that not wearing a seat belt is not one of those mistakes.

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