Seatbelt Safety

A new study published in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association shows just how dangerous one unbuckled person in a car can be.

Even if you're restrained, if there is somebody else in the car with you who is not wearing their seat belt, it increases your risk of death by 15-25%. And it doesn't matter where that person was sitting.

Dr. Frederick Rivara and Dr. Peter Cummings of the University of Washington poured over data from more than 60,000 fatal car crashes between 1988 and 2000. They found a person wearing a seat belt was often killed by another person in the car who was not restrained. In a crash, those people not wearing seat belts are catapulted around the car, becoming lethal weapons.

The study revealed it didn't matter where the person with the seat belt sat in relationship to those without belts and it mattered very little where the car was hit. What mattered most is that someone, somewhere in the car wasn't strapped in.