Although it can easily be overlooked, a vast majority of drivers in all 50 states are buckling their seatbelts before driving away. In total, 84 percent of all occupants set to traverse U.S. roads are buckling up, down one percent from the year before. The study was conducted by the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration’s National Occupant Protection Use Survey. The state with the highest percentage of people buckling up you ask? Washington State, with 97.5 percent, down 0.5 percent from 2010. The state with the lowest percentage of occupants who buckle up is Massachusetts with a grand total of 73.2 percent. The survey, conducted the U.S. Department of Transportation, found that 17 states have 90 percent or more of their populations buckle up: Washington, Oregon, California, Hawaii, New Jersey, Michigan, Maryland, Nevada, Texas, Iowa, Indiana, Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, New Mexico, and Delaware as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Northern Mariana Islands.
States that actively enforce the seatbelt law saw a higher rate of the restraints being used. Rhode Island, which is one of those states that saw seatbelt usage rise, has been entrenched in a seatbelt campaign for more than two years now. As of July 2011, the Ocean State saw its driving population buckle up 80.4 percent of the time, an increase of 2.4 percent when compared against the same time period in 2010. A few states that could probably do with a similar government-sponsored campaign are New Hampshire (even though the state’s mantra is “live, freeze, and die”…or is it “live free and die?”), South Dakota, and Montana. South Dakota checks in with 73.4 percent of all vehicle occupants buckling up while New Hampshire 75 percent and Montana is at 76.9 percent, respectively.
Do you believe the use of seatbelts should be an enforceable law or should it be up to the people? Tell us what you think in the comment section below.