Seat Belt Safety

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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 seat belt 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.  Seat belts reduce serious crash-related injuries and deaths by about half.  While air bags provide added protection, they are not a substitute for seat belts, and should be used in combination to provide the greatest protection for adults.

New Mexico Occupant Seat Belt Observation Study

Each year, the New Mexico Department of Transportation Traffic Safety Division provides a statewide estimate of daytime and nighttime seat belt use. 

The purpose of this study is to help determine high or low seat belt use rates statewide, and identify problem areas in which increased enforcement and advertising may have the greatest impact on driver and passenger behavior.   

In 2023, the overall New Mexico seat belt use rate was found to be 91.5%, above the national average and NHTSA target rate for states of 90%. 

Timely and strong programming, including high visibility enforcement and increasing the type or intensity of media may raise the seat belt use rate.  

Seat Belt Study Reports

In addition to the New Mexico Occupant Seat Belt Observation Study, Safer works in collaboration with Preusser Research Group to produce seat belt study reports for the states of Vermont and Arizona.


Administrative Office
9400 Holly Avenue NE, Suite 201
Albuquerque, NM 87122

Injury Prevention Resource Center
3220 Richards Lane, Suite A
Santa Fe, NM 87505

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