Seat-belt use rising, increasing car and van occupants’ safety and saving lives

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12,713 lives in 2009.

The report, produced through statistical analysis of accident data, included estimates that seat belts saved four lives in the District last year, 237 in Maryland and 263 in Virginia.  It projected that 30 lives in Maryland and 115 in Virginia might have been saved by 100 percent compliance with seat-belt requirements.  The second NHTSA study tracked the steady increase in seat-belt use since 1994 against a corresponding decline in the number of highway fatalities in which seat belts weren’t used.

The findings buttressed the belief that in matters of traffic safety, drivers respond more readily to the threat of punishment than enticements based on self-preservation.  The failure of the “buckle up for safety” campaign in contrast to the current “click it or ticket” program often is cited by those who advocate more punitive laws.  The study found seat-belt use higher in states with laws that allow police to stop drivers solely for not wearing them. Compliance was lower in states that required an officer to find another violation for which to stop a driver before issuing a seat-belt citation.  ABRAMS LANDAU advocates that everyone use their seatbelts.  The staff at the Landau Law Shop has seen devastating permanent injuries as the result of drivers and passengers failing to use their safety belts.

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