Type of crash
Seat belts save lives, especially in single vehicle crashes, rollovers, and in urban vs. rural crashes. Here's why.
Single vehicle crashes
In Montana, most fatal and serious injury crashes are single vehicle roadway departure crashes. Unrestrained vehicle occupants make up the majority of fatality victims in these types of crashes.
While vehicles are designed to absorb the energy from single vehicle rollover impacts, they offer little protection if restraint systems such as seat belts are not used allowing occupants to be ejected.
One of the biggest concerns in a rollover crash is being ejected. Occupants who are ejected from a motor vehicle during a collision are four times more likely to suffer fatal injuries compared to occupants who remain restrained inside the vehicle. (Source: NHTSA)
Seatbelts help keep you in the seat so you are not tossed around in a rollover crash. About half of rollover fatalities occur when people are partly or completely ejected from the vehicle. Don't think it's good to be "thrown clear."
Urban vs. rural
Montana's high proportion of rural vehicle miles of travel on low-volume roads at typically high speeds makes this a particularly critical traffic safety issue for the state. All types of roadway crashes are evenly distributed between rural and urban roads in Montana. However, an astonishing 9 of 10 fatal crashes in Montana happen on rural roadways!