It seems almost laughable to say this, but police pursuit training programs need to directly address seatbelt usage. It’s a simple fact: Seat belts have the capacity to save more law enforcement lives every year than bullet-proof vests, riot gear, tasers, and sidearms.
A bit over 88 percent of U.S. drivers and front-seat passengers regularly wear their safety belts—an all-time high, according to recent statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Predictably, that number jumps up to more than 91 percent in states where police can pull over and cite a driver or passenger simply for failing to wear their safety belts.
Although it is estimated that most law enforcement agencies (upwards of 80 percent) have consistent seat-belt usage listed among their written motor-vehicle use policies for officers, research indicates that only around three-quarters of officers regularly wear their safety belt.
The terrible irony, of course, is that those law officers are at a much higher risk of injury or death while driving than the motorists they pull over and ticket for failing to “click it.”