Home > Ask Gary > The push to wear seatbelts is old news, why do we still need to promote seatbelt use when it’s the law in Massachusetts?

The push to wear seatbelts is old news, why do we still need to promote seatbelt use when it’s the law in Massachusetts?

CIOT-Infographics_1Massachusetts first passed the seat belt law in 1994 and is still considered a “secondary enforcement” law, meaning you may not be stopped for not wearing your seatbelt but you will be fined if you are stopped for another violation and not wearing your seatbelt. However, as a state, our usage is still low at 77%. Most states have stronger seatbelt laws. New Hampshire is the only state in the nation that does not have a seatbelt law other than requiring minors under 18 wear a seatbelt, although about 72% do wear seat belts.

For all those who don’t wear seatbelts, putting their lives in danger, they need to be reminded and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) “Click it or ticket” campaign is one way to do that. From May 18-31, there will a national program to promote seatbelt use and the police are asked to ticket people who are not wearing seatbelts.

New statistics show that people tend to wear seatbelts during the day when traffic is heaviest, but they feel they don’t need to wear them at night—WRONG! You need to wear them all the time. Some people feel they don’t need to wear them when they’re staying in town and not driving on a highway – WRONG! You need to wear them whether you’re going around town or on the highway. Seatbelts save lives and the accident fatality statistics show that time and time again.

The “Click it or Ticket” campaign was created to crackdown on violators 24-7, but a strong enforcement effort is urged between the nighttime hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., due to the significant number of violators and fatal crashes during this time. That’s why this year’s theme is “Day or Night: Click it or Ticket.” Massachusetts has participated in this national program since 2002. It is through this initiative the state claims seatbelt usage went from 51% to 77% in the past 12 years and fatalities involving non-restrained (belted) vehicle occupants dropped significantly from 57% of crash fatalities to 28%.

It has been well-documented that seat belts help reduce the risk of serious injury or death in the event of a motor vehicle crash. Drivers and passengers increase their risk of injury or death by up to 50% when not wearing seat belts. In 2012, Massachusetts recorded 349 fatalities and 4,384 incapacitating injuries related to motor vehicle crashes on the roadway of the Commonwealth. This was a marked decrease from the 374 fatalities and 4,853 incapacitating injuries reported in the previous year.

Massachusetts law requires all occupants to be properly restrained by seat belts when riding in a private passenger motor vehicle, including vans and trucks. Please remember to “click it” all year long. Your life and your safety are in your hands.

AAA is predicting Memorial Day 2015 will see the highest volume of travel in a decade due to lower gas prices as 37.2 million Americans are expected to hit the road for the unofficial start of summer. Start your weekend by buckling up and being certain every passenger buckles up before you get on the road.

From all of us at Jaffarian Volvo Toyota Scion, stay safe and enjoy this beautiful weather and the long Memorial Day Weekend!

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