Thursday, February 14, 2013

Rise in Seat Belt Use: Something to be Thankful For

Los Angeles Car Accident
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Among the many blessings that we received last year, and that was the fact that seatbelt use among Americans hit record-highs, particularly during Thanksgiving weekend. According to one of the recent reports from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), use of seatbelts has reached an all-time high of 86 percent in 2012.

Based on the NHTSA’s yearly National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS), seatbelt use has been on the rise since 1994. Just last year, the use of seatbelts in the United States was recorded at 84 percent before hitting this record-breaking milestone. In the many years of the NOPUS, the NHTSA has noticed that there has been an upward trend with the use of seat belts among vehicle occupants in the US.

Highlights of the NHTSA report

Three out of the four regions in the country saw increases in seat belt use in this latest report. Specifically, the one that enjoyed the biggest improvement is the southern region of the country, in which seat belt rose to 85 percent in 2012; a 5-percent increase from the previous year.

Meanwhile, people living in the western parts of the country still have the highest percentage of seat belt use at 94 percent, a 1-percent increase since 2011. However, the Northeast area of the United States saw no increase in the use of seat belts despite the NHTSA’s efforts in promoting them.

Additionally, seat belt use remained high in states that have primary belt laws. In these states, a law enforcement operative can issue citations to erring motorists. This is deemed more effective than requiring additional traffic violations before any form of disciplinary action can be meted to offenders.

NHTSA’s reaction

NHTSA Administrator David Strickland thanked the agency’s state and local partners for the success of its various campaigns for seat belt use. The ‘Click It or Ticket’ program has been making steady gains in belt use year after year. He added that these successes will be vital in finding more ways to come with “multi-faceted approach”; that is through the “enactment of good laws, the effective enforcement of said laws, and an effective public information drive and awareness”.

To begin with, some 32 states, as well as the District of Columbia, have passed primary laws that require the use of seat belts. On the other hand, another 17 states have come up with secondary laws. So far, the only state so far that has not enacted a primary or secondary seat belt law is New Hampshire. However, the state’s primary child passenger safety law applies to all drivers, as well as passengers under the age of 18.

So would you still risk not wearing your safety belts and be a victim of severe injuries caused by accidents? Would you still want to end up seeking the help of a Los Angeles car accident lawyers to help you seek for damages brought by these injuries? Or would you rather find something to be thankful for in the next Thanksgiving Day for staying safe by adhering to the NHTSA’s plea of simply wearing your seatbelt? Well, the choice is yours, my friend.


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