87% of Idahoans wear their seat belt. Let’s make it 100%

A woman buckles her seat belt.

Eighty-seven percent of Idahoans wear their seat belt, according to the Idaho Office of Highway Safety’s (OHS) 2023 observational seatbelt survey. OHS and law enforcement partners across the state are encouraging all Idahoans to buckle up. From May 20 to June 2 expect to see more officers on the roads to educate drivers about the importance of wearing a seat belt.

Seat belts increase a person’s chances of surviving a crash by nearly 50 percent. Last year, 104* of the people killed in motor vehicle crashes were not wearing their seat belts – 52 of them could have survived had they all worn their seat belts.

While more crashes happen in urban areas, the fatality rate is higher on rural roads. Seat belt use is also lower in rural areas. To coincide with the statewide seat belt enforcement, OHS is launching a new campaign focused on rural road safety. The campaign includes radio ads featuring rural emergency medical service providers (EMS) from around the state. The launch also coincides with National EMS Week, which is marking it’s 50th anniversary this year.

In the ads, first responders explain what it’s like to respond to crashes in their close-knit communities. “In our rural area we usually know a lot of people, and it makes it really hard to have to pull a friend out of a vehicle,” said Christy, an EMT from Washington County in the ads. “We want to make sure everyone can keep making wonderful memories and arrive at their destination safely.”

EMS and post-crash care are a crucial part of safety on our roads. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that in 2021 nearly 9,000 people were ejected or partially ejected from vehicles during crashes. Seat belts play a huge role in preventing ejections and improving outcomes for people injured in crashes.

“EMTs are a crucial part of our communities. Let’s help them help us by wearing a seat belt,” urged Highway Safety Manager Josephine Middleton.

The goal of this campaign is to remind Idahoans that we need to be proactive about our own safety by simply buckling up.

*Preliminary Data