University of Alabama study shows buckling up saves lives in auto crashes

University of Alabama study shows buckling up saves lives in auto crashes
Not wearing a seat belt makes you 50 times more likely to be killed if involved in an automobile crash, according to a University of Alabama Center for Advanced Public Safety study of 2018 crashes in Alabama. (Getty Images)

A data analysis study conducted by the University of Alabama Center for Advanced Public Safety using recently released 2018 Alabama crash data showed crash victims who die are often reported as not wearing a seat belt.

Of the 743 people killed in vehicles that were equipped with restraints in 2018 in Alabama, 366, about half, were not wearing their seat belts.

Buckling up dramatically reduces your chance of dying if involved in an automobile crash, a University of Alabama study found. How dramatically? From 1 in 24 to less than 1 in 1,000. (Getty Images)

“Seat belts are the most effective way of keeping yourself alive in a crash,” said Dr. David Brown, research associate at UA’s Center for Advanced Public Safety.

The study showed that the probability of dying in a crash is about 50 times higher when unrestrained. In general, fewer than 1 in 1,000 occupants involved in motor vehicle crashes are killed when restrained. This probability increases to one in 24 when not restrained.

“The very last thing you ever want to experience in a car crash is to be ejected out onto the roadway,” Brown said. “If you do survive, ejections that are not fatal usually result in extremely severe injury.”

Without a seat belt, the probability of ejection increases about 500 times and, if ejected, the probability of death increases by another 200 times, he said.

The national seat belt enforcement mobilization effort known as the Click It or Ticket program began Monday, May 20 and runs into early June. Additional traffic enforcement will be conducted during this effort with an emphasis on Memorial Day weekend.

This story originally appeared on the University of Alabama’s website.

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