Table 2-31: Estimated Number of Lives Saved by Occupant Protection, Motorcycle Helmets, and Drinking Age Law

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  1975-1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 (R) 2010 2011 Total
1975-2011
Safety beltsa,b 68,940 9,882 10,710 11,259 11,680 11,941 12,882 13,295 14,264 15,095 15,548 15,688 15,458 15,223 13,312 12,763 12,582 11,949 292,471
Air bagsc 730 536 783 973 1,208 1,491 1,716 1,978 2,324 2,519 2,660 2,752 2,824 2,800 2,557 2,387 2,315 2,204 34,757
Motorcycle helmets 15,076 624 617 627 660 745 872 947 992 1,173 1,324 1,554 1,667 1,788 1,836 1,486 1,556 1,617 35,161
Age 21 minimum legal drinking age 14,816 851 846 846 861 901 922 927 922 918 927 882 888 831 716 626 552 533 28,765
Child restraints 3,107 408 480 444 438 447 479 388 383 447 455 424 427 388 286 307 303 263 9,874

KEY: R = revised.

a Represents all adults and children age 5 and older. Data are for passenger vehicles, which include cars, light trucks, vans, pickups, and utility vehicles. Excludes medium and heavy trucks.

b In 2002, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revised its method for estimating lives saved by safety belts. The previous method included survey data from states with and without belt use laws. The current method relies on police-reported restraint use information for each individual occupant fatality. Also, the estimate now includes lives saved in passenger vehicles at all seating positions, where previously it had been front outboard positions only.

c In 2002, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revised the method for calculating lives saved by air bags.

SOURCES

U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, National Center for Statistics and Analysis, Traffic Safety Facts, Final Edition, (Washington, DC: Annual Issues), available at http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/ as of May 7, 2013.