Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death among those aged 1-54 in the U.S. More than 2.2 million adult drivers and passengers were treated in emergency departments as the result of being injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2012. Adult seat belt use is the most effective way to save lives and reduce injuries in crashes. Yet millions of adults do not wear their seat belts on every trip.

How big is the problem of crash-related injuries and death?

Motor vehicle crashes are a major public health problem, according to CDC data:

  • Non-fatal crash injuries resulted in more than $50 billion in lifetime medical and work loss costs in 2012.
  • Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among teens.
  • Young adults (18-24) have the highest crash-related injury rates of all adults.

What is the impact of seat belt use?

  • Seat belts reduce serious crash-related injuries and deaths by about half.
  • Air bags provide added protection, but are not a substitute for seat belts. Air bags plus seat belts provide the greatest protection for adults.

What is Coca-Cola doing to promote seat belt usage?

In partnership with the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS), of which The Coca-Cola Company is board of director member, and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), Coke's Bismarck N.D. facility, led by Jeff Brezden and Craig Hammer, piloted a six-week campaign to encourage employees to buckle up. Results showed that seat belt usage increased from 50 percent to near 90 percent among Bismarck employees.

“We targeted this initiative to all associates, not just to drivers,” Hammer said. “It’s important that workplace safety extends beyond our facility doors. We hope our employees continue to remember the program by buckling up on every trip.”

Chief Product Supply & Service Officer Rick Frazier adds, "Our people are the most important part of our business. This campaign is a great example of how one team is making safety a priority in our daily lives." 

According to Brezden, employees have said they are wearing their seat belts more now than before. "That alone makes this campaign worthwhile," he said.

The campaign will continue in 2015 with the expansion of a community-based seat belt awareness program with CCR engaging with other employers and community groups. 

Bradly Paterson is director of occupational health and safety for Coca-Cola Refreshments.