March 7, 2006
U.S. states with primary seatbelt laws have lower fatalities, report says
Washington, D.C. – A report by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that states with primary seatbelt laws have lower traffic fatality rates than states which do not. (Under primary seatbelt laws, enforcement officers can pull motorists over for not wearing a seatbelt, without any other infractions.)
In primary enforcement states, the fatality rates measured from 2001 to 2004 were 1.03 per million vehicle miles travelled (VMT) and 10.69 per 100,000 population, compared to 1.21 and 13.13 in states without the laws. The statistics did not include children under the age of four, since most states have laws for child restraints. The report also showed that states with primary laws have generally higher rate of daytime observed seatbelt use, and that states that upgrade to primary laws typically increase 7 to 9 per cent in subsequent years for seatbelt use.