Americans are buckling up their seat belts at an all-time high rate, the Department of Transportation said Thursday.
An annual survey by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that nationwide seat belt use has climbed to 86% this year from 84% last year and 58% back in 1994, when the agency first started studying seat belt use patterns. The adoption of seat belt laws in most states has increased seat belt use, the agency said.
“Thanks to the ongoing work of our state and local partners and national efforts such as ‘Click It or Ticket,’ we’ve made steady gains in belt use in recent years,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. “Moving forward, it will be critical to build on this success using a multi-faceted approach that combines good laws, effective enforcement, and public education and awareness.”
Seat belt use increased the most in the South during the past year, up to 85% from 80%. The Western U.S. has the most seat belt use at 94% of occupants, up from 93% last year.