Seat belts saved an estimated 14,955 lives in 2017. For the driver and front passenger, the use of a lap belt and shoulder belt reduces the risk of fatal injuries in an SUV, van or pickup truck and in a car by 60%. Federal officials estimate that seat belt use in passenger cars saved the lives of about 14,000 occupants in 2015. Nearly half of the 22,400 occupants who died in accidents this year were unattached. In the IIHS study of part-time seat belt users, a speed limit lock that kept the vehicle`s speed at 15 mph while driving without a seat belt was just as effective as persistent recalls, increasing seat belt use by 33% (Kidd & Singer, 2019). A gear shift lock increased belt usage by 16%, although the change was not statistically significant. Recent research (Masten, 2007) has strongly suggested that the shift from secondary to primary enforcement of seat belt laws increases occupants` seat belt use during the night, as well as the daylight hours when most observational investigations are conducted into seat belt use. (UNC Centre for Road Safety Research, 2011, pp. 2-13) Secondary enforcement originally arose because legislators in some states were reluctant to enact primary laws because they feared that the police would use the law to harass minorities (Farmer and Williams, 2005). However, several studies have found that the transition from secondary to primary application has resulted in proportionately equal or lower contraventions for minorities (Preusser et al., 2005; Solomon et al., 2000; Solomon et al., 2001). Primary implementing laws vary widely. The laws of some states apply only to the occupants of the front seat, others also to those who drive in the rear. Some laws apply to everyone in the vehicle, others only to adults and children of a certain age.
Some states allow police to punish drivers and passengers, others only drivers. One thing in common: almost every state has a primary app for children in safety seats. Congress passed a law in the 1970s banning seat belt latches. This was after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration required it for all vehicles without airbags. West Virginia – «The Mountain State» has a primary seat belt law that requires all front seat occupants to fasten their seat belts. Any rear passenger under the age of 18 must also wear a seat belt. In 2019, every state except New Hampshire introduced some sort of mandatory seat belt law. Laws vary from state to state in several ways, including: Nebraska – «Cornhusker State» has a secondary seat belt law and requires drivers and passengers to fasten their seatbelts. In vehicles in which drivers have a provisional operating permit or a school permit, all passengers must fasten their seatbelts.
Rhode Island – In «The Ocean State, drivers must wear a seat belt and/or shoulder belt system at all times when the vehicle is in motion. The main condition requires passengers aged 8 years and older to wear an appropriate child restraint system when driving in one of the two seats. Maine – Since September 2007, The Pine Tree State has been one of the leading seat belt states. Maine requires drivers and passengers 18 years of age and older to wear seat belts. Other laws require the use of child restraint systems appropriate for children in any vehicle. Research confirms that seat belt laws significantly increase seat belt use and that primary enforcement laws are more effective than secondary enforcement laws. According to NHTSA, 92 percent of front seat occupants in states with primary enforcement laws have fastened their seatbelts, compared to 86.2 percent of front seat occupants in states where secondary enforcement or no laws were passed in 2019. It is also worth noting the effect of seat belt laws on rear occupants. In 2018, 81 percent of rear seat occupants used seat belts in states with seat belt laws for all seating positions, while 68.7 percent of rear seat occupants used seat belts only for front seats in states with seat belt laws.
A 2012 highway reappropriation law eased these restrictions. Now, NHTSA can allow automakers to equip vehicles with belt latches as an alternative way to meet a federal safety standard. Virginia – The «Old Dominion State» has a secondary seat belt law. Virginia requires all occupants of the front and rear seats to fasten their seatbelts, and anyone under the age of 18 must use an appropriate child restraint system. The state makes drivers responsible for ensuring that all passengers are restrained. North Carolina – North Dakota`s main seat belt law requires all occupants 16 years of age and older to wear a seat belt. Seat belt laws in «Tar Heel State» extend to all vehicles that must be equipped with seat belts under federal law. Another recent study used data from Ohio`s Crash Outcome Data Evaluation System (CODES) program to predict annual medical cost savings for Medicaid if Ohio saw a 10-percentage-point increase in seat belt use by moving to a primary seatbelt law (Conner, Xiang and Smith, 2010). Using 2003 accident records and hospital data, the authors estimated the cumulative ten-year savings for Medicaid at about $91 million (in 2007 after health care cost inflation). In this study, only Medicaid costs (which accounted for 20.6% of medical costs due to hospitalizations due to traffic accidents) were taken into account, so the total medical cost savings for all payers would be even greater. Colorado – The driver and all passengers must wear seat belts in «The Centennial State.» The secondary seat belt law only allows officers to punish you after arresting you for a separate offence.
On the other hand, Colorado`s seat belt laws allow officers to stop drivers if a child passenger is not properly restrained. If you receive a ticket because you did not properly detain a child, failure to wear a seat belt may become a secondary offence after the officer has dressed you. Montana – Montana has a secondary seat belt law that applies to drivers and all other occupants of a vehicle. «The Treasure State» requires appropriate child restraint systems for children under the age of 6 or weighing less than 60 pounds. Thirty-four states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the United States The Virgin Islands have primary implementing laws for front seats.   Arkansas – The Natural State has a primary seat belt law that requires children who climb into the front or rear seats to buckle up. Children must drive in an appropriate child restraint system until they reach the age of 6 or 60 pounds. Missouri – «The Show Me State» currently has secondary seat belt laws, but a bipartisan group of Missouri mayors has made getting a primary seat belt law a priority. The group, known as «Missouri Mayors United for Progress,» wants to implement a bill that would subject non-closure to fines, as well as text messages while driving. Currently, Missouri requires all drivers and passengers to wear seat belts. If the driver has an intermediate driving licence, all occupants of the vehicle must fasten their seatbelts.
Federal safety standards require a driver`s seat belt reminder system that provides a warning light and an audible warning of 4 to 8 seconds. However, short memories are not effective (Geller et al., 1980; Robertson and Haddon, 1974). In all 50 states, with the exception of New Hampshire, not wearing a seat belt is a crime. In 34 of these states and the District of Columbia, a driver can be stopped simply because he has not fastened a seat belt. This is the main application of the law. Currently, 15 other states have «secondary enforcement laws,» meaning police can only punish people for seat belt violations if they are arrested for another reason. (New Hampshire is the only state where adults are not required to wear seat belts.) «I hope this will save not only lives, but also taxpayers` money,» perry, a Republican, said. «We spend a lot of money on hospital fees, and the business on our highways is closed for a long time if we have to block them, if there is a serious accident and someone is evicted.
When you start looking at dollars and cents, it made sense. On the front and rear seats, seat belts reduce the risk of serious injury or death in an accident. Research has shown that the risk of fatal injuries to car occupants in the front seat is reduced by 45% when pelvic straps and shoulder straps are used (NHTSA, 2017). The risk of moderate to severe injury is reduced by half. For those occupying the front seats of SUVs, vans and pickup trucks, the use of shoulder straps and shoulder straps reduces the risk of fatal injuries by 60% and moderate to serious injuries by 65%. Chaudhary, Tison and Casanova (2010) assessed the impact of Maine`s shift from secondary to primary enforcement of its seat belt law. Observation surveys conducted over an 18-month period after this change came into effect in 2007 measured the increase in seat belt use from 77% to 84% during the day and from 69% to 81% at night. .