A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that for 20 years there have been more pickup truck occupant fatalities when the occupants weren’t wearing seat belts than with any other vehicle type.
The federal agency released the study as it launched its annual “Click It or Ticket” campaign to urge motorists to wear seat belts for safety.
Its Occupant Protection Traffic Safety report shows that in 2021, 60% of pickup truck drivers and 64% of pickup truck passengers who died in crashes weren’t wearing seat belts. The agency therefore focuses much of its seat belt awareness efforts on this group of motorists.
When it comes to passenger vehicles, occupant fatalities in crashes continue to increase, the NHTSA said. The number rose annually from 2018 to 2021, and in 2021, 45% of vehicle occupants killed in crashes weren’t belted at the time, for a total of 11,813 deaths.
The report shows a higher percentage of such deaths happen at night, with 57% of vehicle occupants who died in nighttime crashes in 2021 not belted, compared to 43% who died in daytime crashes.
“Putting on your seat belt only takes two seconds, but it can save your life,” said NHTSA Chief Counsel Carlson in a press release. “Your seat belt is your best protection against serious or fatal injuries in a crash – and wearing your seat belt is also the law in most states. Whether you’re in the front seat or the back, use your seat belt on every trip, every time.”