January 16, 2003

More Americans wearing their seatbelts

Rochester, New York – A new survey by the Harris Poll shows that 85% of American adult drivers now wear their seatbelts. Twenty years ago, when The Harris Poll first began to track seat belt use in the United States, only 19% of American adults claimed to wear front-seat restraints while driving. Over the years, this proportion has risen steadily from the 1983 low point. By 1985, after some states had begun to mandate seat belt use, it had risen to 41%. By 1990 it was up to 65%. By 1995, the percentage of those using seat belts had risen to 73%, and by 2000 it reached 79%. Now it has jumped again to fully 85% of all adults.

As in previous surveys, the 2002 survey confirms that those who are socially and economically disadvantaged tend to have a lower rate of seat belt use.

This Harris Poll of 1,023 adults surveyed by telephone between December 12 and 16, 2002 was conducted by Harris Interactive. The results are part of the annual survey which measures the proportions of adults who are overweight, smoke and do not wear seat belts – three major causes of disease, death and disability.

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