FORT RUCKER, Ala. (Sept. 25, 2013) - Soldiers are wearing seat belts at a substantially higher rate than the civilian population, according to recent data.

A 2011 survey conducted by the U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center showed 95 percent of Soldiers wore their seat belts either always or most of the time. A report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found an estimated 84 percent of civilians used seat belts during 2011.

While the percentage of Soldiers using seat belts is high, those not doing so accounted for nearly 30 percent of fiscal 2013's PMV-4 fatalities through Aug. 8.

"There is no question seat belts save lives and are critical for protecting all occupants in a crash, but they only work when they're used," said David Strickland, administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Washington, D.C. "Thanks to the ongoing work of our state and local partners and national efforts such as Click It or Ticket, national belt use reached a record high of 86 percent in 2012."

While 2012 data showed an increase in civilian seat belt use, there is still work to be done.

"In 2011, a total of 21,253 occupants in passenger cars, pickup trucks, vans and sport utility vehicles died in motor vehicle crashes nationwide, with 52 percent not wearing their seat belts at the time of the fatal crash," Strickland said. "These numbers show it is critical for us to continue building on our successes through a combination of good laws, effective enforcement and public education and awareness."

Click It or Ticket is a national seat belt safety campaign described by NHTSA as "the most successful seat belt enforcement campaign ever, helping to increase the national seat belt usage rate."

The primary audience for the campaign is men ages 18-34, who research shows are less likely to wear seat belts.