History shows laws requiring placement and use of seatbelts work and have saved many hundreds of thousands of lives the United States, as well as saved billions in expenses and costs of injuries. Not surprisingly, stronger laws do help at getting people to buckle up. Recently, a number of States have enacted “primary enforcement” laws which allow an officer to stop and ticket a motorist if he or she sees a driver not wearing their seatbelt. Weaker laws just allowed a ticket if the motorist was stopped for something else and was not wearing a seat belt.
34 States have these primary enforcement laws and they are among the States with the highest rates of seatbelt use. Many have usage rates well into the 95% range with Oregon at 98%. States with the worst usage rates do not have any seatbelt law or don’t allow officers to stop drivers for a seatbelt violation. Usage in these States is shockingly low at 69% – 77%. Sadly, the rate of States adopting the highly successful primary enforcement law is slowing to a crawl. People in States like South Dakota, New Hampshire, Montana, Massachusetts, and Virginia need to push their representative to make a difference on these issues.
Thanks to the August 16, 2016 issue of Consumer Reports for these facts and figures.