Seat belt use improving in U.S.

04/17/2014 10:11 AM

04/19/2014 5:52 PM

People nationwide apparently are doing a better job of buckling up when they get into their vehicles, and that’s progress.

The May-June issue of AAA’s Midwest Traveler reports that national seat belt use is up to 87 percent now from 86 percent a year ago. The magazine cites data from the National Occupant Protection Use Survey.

Increases in U.S. seat belt use are accompanied by a decrease in the number of fatalities in passenger vehicles. Teens, pickup truck drivers and nighttime drivers remain less likely to use seat belts, the occupant survey reports.

States like Kansas with primary seat belt laws, which allow police to ticket motorists if they are not strapped in, have higher seat belt use compared with states like Missouri in which police can only issue tickets for people not being buckled up if a driver is pulled over for another offense.

The AAA magazine notes that lap/shoulder seat belt use reduces the risk of fatal injury to front seat passenger car occupants by 45 percent.

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