The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reported that 2016 has been a record year for seat belt use it the United States.
In fact, the NHTSA reports that this has been the highest year for seat belt use since it started tracking use in 1994. Seat belt use reached 90.1 percent in June 2016, a significant increase from 88.5 percent for 2015.
The NHTSA measures the use of seat belts and other safety features on an annual basis using its National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS). It is the only nationwide survey that measures seat belt use. It also measures usage of other safety features, including car seats, motorcycle helmets and the handling of electronic devices.
Most Important Safety Feature
Seat belts became standard in all vehicles in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The Saab GT 750 was reportedly the first line of vehicles to have safety belts as a standard feature, and other manufacturers soon followed suit.
The NHTSA reports that even considering all of the new technology to increase safety in vehicles, the standard safety belt is still one of the most important safety features in a car. In fact, it saved an estimated 14,000 lives in 2015 alone. The NHTSA also reports that seat belts have likely saved roughly 375,000 people since 1975.
NHTSA accredits the increase in safety belt use to the increase in law enforcement issuing citations for seat belt violations and the Click It or Ticket campaign. The majority of U.S. states, including Maryland, allow officers to pull over drivers for not wearing their seat belt without any other traffic offense. Other states list non-use of a seat belt as a secondary offense instead of a primary offense, meaning officers cannot pull you over for seat belt violation alone.
You should wear your seat belt every time you get in the car, and you should encourage others to do the same.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, speak with the Silver Spring car accident lawyers at Goldberg Finnegan to determine your legal rights.