“Click it or Ticket” Seat Belt Laws Reduce Auto Accident Injury, Death Rates

May 17, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog

Next week kicks off the national “Click it or Ticket” campaign, designed to raise awareness about the importance of seat belts, as police make an increased effort to be on the lookout for drivers that are not buckling up.

Click it or Ticket CampaignWhile seat belt laws remain a secondary offense in many states, only allowing police to issue a citation for not wearing a seat belt if a driver is pulled over for another offense, states that have adopted stricter seat-belt laws, which make the lack of a seat belt a primary offense, are seeing positive results, reducing the risk of death or serious injury from auto accidents.

According to a recent study published in the American Journal of Public Health, strict seat belt laws have a big impact on teen drivers, creating good seat belt habits that are likely to increase their safety throughout the rest of their driving years.

Researchers looked at the 2006 National Young Driver Survey and a sample of 3,126 high school drivers. They found that teen drivers were 12% less likely to wear a seatbelt while driving in states that do not have primary seat belt laws. The rate was even worse for teen passengers, who were 15% less likely to wear a safety belt in those states where the police cannot pull you over simply for not buckling up.

In states where seat belt laws are only a secondary offense, teens were less likely to get into the habit of wearing a seat belt as they went from learner to unrestricted license holder. Teens were also less likely to wear safety belts in those states if they lived in rural areas, drove pickup trucks, were academically challenged or were African Americans.

The undisputed fact is that seat belts save lives and prevent catastrophic injuries every day. Auto accidents are going to happen (at least until we are all riding in self-driven Google cars), so it is important to establish the habit of seat belt use early and strict enforcement laws have a clear impact on increasing use of seat belts.

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