The Effectiveness of Safety Belts in Preventing Fatalities

  • Published: Accident Analysis and Prevention, Vol 18, No 3, pp 229-241, 1986
  • Authors: Leonard Evans
  • Date Added: 01 Feb 2013
  • Last Update: 01 Feb 2013
  • Format: pdf


To calculate the effectiveness of seat belts at preventing front seat occupant fatalities.


Data from the Fatal Accident Reporting System was used to examine the ratio of the proportion of fatally injured occupants in vehicles where both front passengers were not wearing seatbelts, and in vehicles where the driver was wearing a seat belt but the front passenger was not. The ratio of these two ratios was used to calculate effectiveness.

Key Findings:

  • Three point belts were 41% effective at preventing fatal injury ( standard error of 4%).