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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published a pamphlet in March 2010 on the top five things you should know about buckling up while in a vehicle. Research shows that seat belts can save over 13,000 lives each year. It’s not just the law that you should wear a seat belt – it’s a possible life saver.

According to the NHTSA, the first thing you need to know is that “buckling up is the single most effective thing you can do to protect yourself in a crash.” Between 2004 to 2008, seat belts saved over 75,000 lives. And in 2008 alone, seat belts saved more than 13,000 lives.

The second thing the NHTSA says is that “air bags are designed to work with seat belts, not replace them.” The NHTSA says, “If you don’t wear your seat belt, you could be thrown into a rapidly opening frontal air bag; a movement of such force could injure or even kill you.”

According to the NHTSA, the third thing you need to know is how to buckle up safely. You need to place the shoulder belt across the middle of your chest and make sure it’s away from your neck. You need to adjust the lap belt across your hips below your stomach. You should never put the shoulder belt behind your back or under an arm.

The fourth thing you need to know is “Fit matters.” When buying a new car, check to determine if the seat belts are a good fit. You can also ask your dealer about seat belt adjusters.

The last thing the NHTSA says is “occupant protection is for everyone.” Everyone in the vehicle needs to buckle up.

If you need more information about child safety seats, air bags, seat belts, and adapting motor vehicles for drivers with special needs, contact the DOT Auto Safety Hotline at 888-327-4236 or visit

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