Florida – A new AAA study says 1 in 5 motorists don’t wear a seatbelt, and Florida ranks #2 nationwide in unrestrained passenger fatalities.
Seat belts save lives… but there are still too many people who don’t wear them according to AAA. AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety research found that nearly 1 in 5 drivers (17.8%) say they have driven without a seatbelt in the past 30 days, 15.2% say they have done it more than once in that time, and more than 1 in 20 (5.6%) say they drive without a seatbelt regularly.
Seat belt usage has been increasing nationwide (87%), but back seat passengers are much less likely to wear a seatbelt (78%). That’s despite the fact that passengers in the back seat are 3 times more likely to die in a crash if they aren’t buckled up, according to a report from the Governors Highway Safety Association.
There are currently 28 states that have seat belt laws covering all passengers – but the Sunshine State isn’t one of them. And according to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), FL ranks 2nd in the nation when it comes to unrestrained passenger fatalities.
“Unfortunately many passengers will not change their behavior unless there is a legal consequence,” said Karen Morgan, Public Policy Manager, AAA. “Because of this attitude, the easiest and most cost-effective way to save lives and prevent injuries is to improve the current seat belt law to cover all vehicle occupants.”
According to NHTSA, seat belts saved 330,507 lives nationwide between 1975 and 2014. If all passengers had buckled up in that period, 709,489, or 378,983 more lives could have been saved.
The full Traffic Safety Culture Index report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety can be found here.
Unbuckled in Back: An Overlooked Issue in Occupant Protection from the Governors Highway Safety Association can be found here.
And the NHTSA report on occupant protection and traffic safety facts can be found here.
Copyright Southern Stone Communications 2016.