Auto Service World
News   May 26, 2003   by Auto Service World

Safety Takes Back Seat to Cool Where Youth Concerned

According to a survey of young people in the U.S. peer pressure, lack of comfort and a feeling of invincibility are the leading reasons American teenagers cite for their tendency towards non-use of safety belts.
Another top reason given by teens in the Volkswagen sponsored study was the belief that seat belts are not necessary for short trips from home or school.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which just announced a U.S. wide safety belt campaign, teens and young adults are the group least likely to buckle up and most likely to die in traffic accidents.
In 2001, more than 5,000 teens perished in auto accidents; two- thirds of those, tragically, were not wearing safety belts.
The company informally polled several hundred high school students and teachers and asked:
“What are the primary reasons teenagers don’t wear seat belts as often as they should?”
Among the findings:
— Uncool (peer pressure not to wear; embarrassment) 32%
— Uncomfortable (too constricting; wrinkles clothes) 30%
— Only traveling short distance (unnecessary; not a long trip) 20%
— Feeling of invincibility (nothing will happen to me) 18%
Of particular note was the attitude that seat belts are not necessary when travelling short distances, as statistics show that, traditionally, the majority of auto accidents occur within one to five miles of one’s home. Additionally, most students knew of a friend or relative who had been in an auto accident and who benefited from wearing a safety belt. Despite this, many still felt such a scenario was not likely to happen to them.

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