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Washington buckles up best.

Washington state can claim the highest-safety belt use rate--95 percent--in the country. California with 91 percent and Hawaii and Puerto Rico with rates right around 90 percent are the next highest, but every region in the United States had an increase in safety belt use during 2002.

The Washington Traffic Safety Commission credits a new tough law and the use of a "Click It or Ticket" public awareness campaign for its new record. Before the 2002 law, safety belt use in Washington hovered right around 80 percent. The new primary belt law gives police officers the authority to pull over a driver solely for violating the seat belt law.

The 20 states (and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico) with primary belt laws see higher safety belt use than the 29 with secondary laws that require police to stop cars for some other violation before they can issue a seat belt ticket. New Hampshire has no seat belt law.
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Title Annotation:On First Reading
Publication:State Legislatures
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2003
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