Friday, September 12, 2008

Strong Safety Belt Laws Can Make a Difference

  • There are two types of safety belt laws: primary and secondary. A primary safety belt law allows a law enforcement officer to stop a vehicle and issue a citation when the officer simply observes an unbelted driver or passenger. A secondary safety belt law means that a citation for not wearing a safety belt can only be written after the officer stops the vehicle for another infraction.
  • Primary safety belt laws are much more effective in increasing safety belt use, because people are more likely to buckle up when there is the perceived risk of receiving a citation for not doing so.19 In 2003, the average safety belt use rate in States with primary enforcement laws was 11 percentage points higher than in States without primary enforcement laws.
  • Most teens support primary enforcement safety belt laws. In 2003, a nationwide survey was conducted to determine attitudes regarding primary enforcement safety belt laws. Of those young people 16 to 20 years of age who were surveyed, 64 percent voiced their support for primary enforcement laws.

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