One of the rules about driving or riding in a vehicle that gets drilled into your head at a young age is to wear a seatbelt. In fact, it is Texas law to do so. It may not seem like this flimsy straps and buckle system could really make a difference, but the fact is that it is effective. Seatbelts save lives, and the research shows that is 100% true.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, you must wear your seatbelt properly to benefit from it. This means that the lap belt falls across your hips and the shoulder belt goes across your chest. Wearing the lap belt higher or the shoulder belt under your arm only increases your chances of an injury and renders the seatbelt useless.

Wearing your seatbelt keeps your body from flying around or out of the vehicle in a crash. Due to the positioning of the belt, it spreads the impact across the strongest parts of your body to prevent injuries, too. It also keeps you from getting injured by the air bags. Air bags alone can cause serious injuries, but the seatbelt helps to keep you far enough away that the air bag can deploy and offer cushion to protect you.

In 2017, the estimate is that seatbelts saved almost 15,000 lives. In accidents with a fatality, the person who died was not wearing a seatbelt about 47% of the time. That is about 2,500 lives lost because someone chose not to wear his or her seatbelt. This information is for education and is not legal advice.