Traffic fatalities continue to drop year-over-year. One reason may be the increased use of seat belts. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2012 “nationwide seat belt use reached an all-time high of 86 percent.”
Why do the other 14% of riders decide not to wear them? The NHTSA cannot answer that completely. One reason, the agency says, is that more states have instituted mandatory seat belt laws. But some of the other results make no sense. People in the South make less use of seat belts than drivers and passengers from other regions. “Seat belt use for occupants in the South increased significantly from 80 percent in 2011 to 85 percent in 2012,” the NHTSA reports.
The agency decided that the holiday was a good time to release the data, because so many people will drive during the next week. Remember:
“When it comes to driving safely, one of the most effective ways to protect yourself and your family is to use a seat belt,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “This Thanksgiving holiday, we’re urging everyone on our roadways to buckle up — every trip, every time.”
As if we did not know that already.
Douglas A. McIntyre