Did you know that seat belt use is lowest among young drivers 16 to 24? The majority of teenagers involved in fatal crashes are unbuckled. As teens start driving and gradually gain independence, they don’t always make the smartest decisions regarding their safety. They may think they are invincible, that they don’t need seat belts. They may have a false notion that they have the right to choose whether or not to buckle up.
What can you do?
- Let them know: Buckling up is the law. Help your teen understand
why seat belts are so important. Talk to your teen about the seat belt
laws in your state. Tell your teen that it's dangerous and reckless to
ride in a car unbuckled. Make them aware of the consequences of
not buckling up: tickets, injury, or even death in the event of a crash.
- Set the example: One of the best things you can do as a parent and role model is to always wear your seat belt in the car. Children who grow up watching their parents buckle up are more likely to buckle up when they become drivers.
- Remind them: This isn’t a one-time conversation, it’s an ongoing effort. Ask your teen often about wearing a seat belt, and give simple reminders from time to time. Something as simple as a sticky note in the car can be a helpful visual reminder to your teen driver. Your teen should buckle up every trip, as the driver, as a passenger, in the front seat, and in the back.
Bottom line: It only takes a few seconds to buckle up, but it could make the difference of a lifetime.