Forget the excuses--just buckle up.
That number is a far cry from the lofty goals established in April 1997, under the Clinton Administration. The aim then was to increase national seat-belt use to 85 percent by the year 2000, and 90 percent by 2005 (from 68 percent in 1996).
While those goals were not met, national seat-belt use has risen steadily since the National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS) started collecting data in 1994. At the same time, there has been a steady decline in passenger-vehicle-occupant fatalities per mile traveled [see accompanying chart].
Despite these gains, research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that nighttime belt use continues to be much lower than daytime use, particularly among young drivers.
"Seat-belt use among young drivers and occupants is not what it should be, especially at night, when the risk of dying in a crash triples," said former NHTSA Administrator, Nicole Nason. "Clearly, we need to do more to make people of all ages understand that--whether traveling by car, SUV or truck--a seat belt is the best way to stay alive, day or night."
The consequences of not buckling up are even more tragic among young passenger-vehicle occupants. Of the 2,962 nighttime passengers, 16 to 20 years old, who died in 2006, 68 percent were unrestrained. During the daytime, 57 percent of the 16-to-20-year-old occupants killed were unrestrained.
"Wearing your seat belt costs you nothing," said Nason. "But the cost for not wearing one certainly will. So don't risk it with a ticket, or worse--your life."
Commit now to supporting this year's "Click It or Ticket" campaign. The law-enforcement officers who will be on the streets need our help to make the campaign successful.
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|Title Annotation:||seat belt use|
|Date:||Mar 22, 2009|
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