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Traffic Safety Facts

Crash Stats

DOT HS 811 153

A Brief Statistical Summary

May 2010

Lives Saved in 2008 by Restraint Use And Minimum Drinking Age Laws

In 2008, the use of seat belts in passenger vehicles saved an estimated 13,250 lives. Seat belts have saved over 75,000 lives during the 5-year period from 2004 to 2008. These annual lives saved counts, shown in Table 1, have been produced by NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis since 1975. The counts are estimates that are calculated using the effectiveness of each device or law that is mentioned.

child restraints (child safety seats and lap/shoulder belts). An additional 4,152 lives would have been saved in 2008 if all un- restrained passenger vehicle occupants 5 and older involved in fatal crashes had worn their seat belts. If all motorcyclists had been helmeted an additional 823 lives would have been saved.

In addition to the 13,250 lives saved in 2008 by seat belts (oc- cupants 5 and older), 2,546 lives were saved by frontal air bags (occupants 13 and older), 1,829 lives were saved by motorcy- cle helmets, 714 lives were saved by 21-year-old-minimum drinking age laws, and 244 lives (4 and under) were saved by

Table 1 shows that the number of lives saved by seat belts among occupants 5 and older declined from 15,223 in 2007 to 13,250 in 2008. The number of lives saved by child restraints, frontal air bags, and the minimum legal drinking age also de- clined from 2007 to 2008. The number of lives saved by motor- cycle helmets increased from 1,788 in 2007 to 1,829 in 2008.

2004

455

15,548

2,660

1,324

927

5,874

673

2005

424

15,688

2,752

1,554

882

5,667

731

2006

427

15,458

2,824

1,667

888

5,468

756

2007

388

15,223

2,800

1,788

831

5,048

805

2008

244

13,250

2,546

1,829

714

4,152

823

Table 1: Lives Saved by Restraint Use, and 21-Year-Old-Minimum Drinking Age Laws, and Additional Lives That Would Have Been Saved at 100-Percent Seat Belt and Motorcycle Helmet Use, 2004-2008

Source: FARS 2004-2007 Final File, 2008 Annual Report File

Table 2 shows lives saved totals in 2008 for all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. The far left column is the lives saved by child restraints, and the next three col- umns refer respectively to lives saved by seat belts, by frontal

air bags, and by motorcycle helmets. The numbers in the two far right columns represent the additional lives savable at 100-percent seat belt use and 100-percent motorcycle hel- met use, respectively. Due to rounding, the sum of the State totals may not equal the national total.

Year

Lives Saved, Age 4 and Younger

Lives Saved, Age 5 and Older

Lives Saved, Age 13 and Older

Lived Saved, All Ages

Child Restraints

Seat Belts

Frontal Air Bags

Motorcycle Helmets

Motorcycle Helmets

Lives Saved, All Ages

Additional Lives That Would Have Been Saved at 100-Percent Use

Minimum Drinking Age Law

Seat Belts

Published by NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis

1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590

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