Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death among those aged 1-54 in the U.S. according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 2.2 million adult drivers and passengers were treated in emergency departments as the result of being injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2012. Adult seatbelt use is the most effective way to save lives and reduce injuries in crashes, yet millions of adults do not wear their seatbelts on every trip. Seatbelts reduce serious crash-related injuries and deaths by about half. While air bags provide added protection, they are not a substitute for seatbelts, and should be used in combination to provide the greatest protection for adults.
New Mexico’s seatbelt rate (93%) surpasses the national average (87%) by a sizeable margin. Since 2012, New Mexico’s overall seatbelt rates have surpassed state targets, but despite the successful improvements in seatbelt rates, there are subgroups with substantially lower use rates.