Over half of people who die in traffic crashes in the nation are not wearing seat belts. Police officers in the District of Columbia think even one death resulting from not wearing a seat belt is one too many. That's why the District of Columbia has one of the strongest and most comprehensive seat belt laws in the country. Seat belts are your best defense against unsafe drivers – the single most important step you can take to save your life or the life of a loved one in a crash.
The District Department of Transportation and the Metropolitan Police Department are working Toward Zero Deaths on DC's roadways through strict policy, public health, education, enforcement and other efforts.
Some national seat belt statistics are below:
- Lap and shoulder seat belts – when worn – lower the risk of death to passengers in the front seat by 45 percent. Seat belts also reduce the risk of moderate-to-critical injury by half.
- Teens aged 13 to 15 have a 67 percent risk of dying in crashes when they aren’t wearing seat belts – the highest percentage of all age groups.
- Data shows that, among passengers aged 18 to 34 who have been killed in crashes, 63 percent were not buckled up.
The District of Columbia enacted its seatbelt law in 1997. Since then, injuries have been prevented and lives saved.
- The District of Columbia's law allows police to stop a vehicle solely because its driver and/or passengers are not properly buckled up.
- It's a $50 fine and 2 points for not having your seat belt buckled at all times - for drivers and all passengers, front and back seats.
- Drivers are responsible for seat belt compliance for all passengers.
- All children under 8 must be properly seated in an infant, toddler or booster seat. Eight- to 16-year-olds must be secured with a safety belt.
- Drivers who fail to properly secure their child face a $75 fine and 2 points for a first offense, and up to $150 fine for subsequent offenses.
- DC participates in the national Click or Ticket seat belt usage awareness campaign. Click It or Ticket is national seat belt campaign including high visibility enforcement with paid and earned media.
A seat belt can be the most significant action you can take to protect your life and those you care about. Buckling up dramatically increases your chance of surviving a crash, and it's your best weapon against a drunk, tired, distracted, or aggressive driver.
Wear your seat belt in DC. Day and night. Every trip. Every time.
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