The Leading Cause of Death

The leading cause of death for Americans age two through 33 is a traffic accident.

The head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Dr. Jeffrey Runge, says that we have a vaccine to prevent many such deaths... it’s called a safety belt.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, “a primary seat belt law is likely to save more lives than possibly any single piece of legislation a state will consider.”

Primary seat belt laws permit law enforcement officers to ticket motorists for an observed seat belt violation, just as they do for any other motor vehicle law violation. Currently, a majority of states (29) have secondary seat belt laws that permit enforcement only if a motorist is first stopped for some other violation, such as speeding.

Seat belts reduce the risk of serious injury or death in a traffic accident by 45%, but young people are much less likely to use them. Therefore, increased use of seat belts would significantly reduce injury and death from alcohol-related traffic crashes.

A national survey of Americans found that people in states with secondary laws support enactment of primary seat belt laws by two-to-one.


  • As Nationwide Seat Belt Crackdown Begins, New Data Underscores (sic) Deadly Impact of Failure to Adopt Primary Seat Belt Laws. The Air Bag & Seat Belt Safety Campaign press release, 11-17-03.

Filed Under: Driving