Seat Belt Use Increases with New Laws, Fines

Jan 18, 2011

Good news for those concerned with driver safety: new data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that states that have strengthened their seat belt laws and increased penalties for infractions have seen significant improvement in seat belt usage.


The NHTSA study shows that adopting a primary seat belt law improves belt usage by 10 to 12 percent in states that have done so.  Raising the penalty for an infraction from the national median of $25 to $6 increased usage by 3 to 4 percent, and raising the cost to $100 yielded a 6 to 7% gain.


These enhanced penalties and tougher laws have already been adopted by several states, and the NHTSA says that it is helping to save lives on America’s roads.


"Seat belts are the single most protective safety device ever invented for use in vehicles, saving thousands of lives each year. Now our research proves that when states step up sanctions, they're rewarded with huge improvements in belt use," said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland.


The full report can be viewed here.


Please remind your drivers that seat belts are an important safety tool and should be worn at all times when their vehicles are in motion.  It’s not only a good idea, but a lifesaver.

Photo courtesy of Dylan Cantwell and re-used under the Creative Commons license.