Since 1960, government-mandated car-safety equipment has saved 329,000 lives, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
That equipment includes seat belts, air bags, child-safety seats, strengthened roof and side protections, energy-absorbing steering columns, shatter-resistant glass. And as the safety mandates grew, so did the number of lives saved, from 115 in 1960 to 25,000 in 2002, according to the NHTSA.
This may be a case of a government agency patting itself on the back, but the figures seem reasonable and the safety mandates, at an added cost of $839 per vehicle, well worth the price.
But the really salient fact was that more than half of those lives —168,524 — were saved by the simplest and cheapest safety feature: the seat belt. Buckle up.