The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is paying particular attention to subnormal seat-belt wearing rates among teenaged motorists in this month’s nationwide “Click it or Ticket” campaign.
According to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, of the 4,540 16-to-20-year-old vehicle occupants killed in crashes in 2007, 2,502–more than half–were unbelted at the time. “Teen belt use rates are especially low at night,” he noted, while kicking off the campaign at a Virginia high school last week.
Overall, the Department of Transportation estimates 1,652 lives could be saved and 22,372 serious injuries avoided annually if Americans raised their belt-wearing rates to 90% in every state. Based on 2007 data, 15,147 lives were saved that year because crash vehicle occupants were wearing their belts.
As reported in this TheDetroitBureau.com, there is wide variance among the states in belt-wearing rates. Naturally, those states with primary seat belt laws have the highest rates. A “Primary” state authorizes police to make stops if they note lack of restraint system use; whereas Secondary states permit issuance of tickets only after a vehicle has been stopped for some other violation. Primary state Michigan, for example, has consistently shown usage rates over 90% for the last five years. (more…)