Despite the highest safety belt-use rate ever recorded in
the U.S., 48 million Americans still fail to buckle up, according to a recently
released report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The report, titled “Research Note: Restraint Use Patterns
Among Fatally Injured Passenger Vehicle Occupants,” found the last of the
unbuckled to be largely young and male, likely to live in rural areas and/or
drive pickup trucks.
The release of the report coincides with NHTSA’s national “Click
It or Ticket” crackdown on belt-law violators, which runs from May 22 through
June 4. The law enforcement effort is supported by more than $31 million in
national and state ads that begin airing May 15.
The new NHTSA report provides a detailed state-by-state
profile of the people who still don’t buckle up. Nationally, the number is 18
percent, but varies by state. The report does not identify specifically the use
of seat belts in commercial vehicles.
“It’s an undisputable fact that safety belts help save
lives. Still, millions of Americans aren’t buckling up every time they are in a
motor vehicle,” said NHTSA Acting Administrator Jacqueline Glassman in a press
The two-week “Click It or Ticket” crackdown will end just
two days before the start of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s 19th
annual International 72-hour Roadcheck. On Tuesday, June 6, through Thursday,
June 8, inspections will be conducted throughout the U. S., Canada and Mexico.
The CVSA checks focus on the year-round commercial vehicle
and driver roadside inspection program and draw the public’s attention to the
continuous and combined efforts of law enforcement and the truck and bus
industries to improve safety on North American highways.
Approximately 10,000 CVSA-certified truck and bus safety
inspectors across North America were on the job inspecting commercial vehicles
during the 2005 Roadcheck, with more than 60,000 inspections performed during
the three-day blitz.
Participating agencies include the Federal Motor Carrier
Safety Administration, the Transportation Security Administration, the National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Canadian Council of Motor Transport
Administrators, Transport Canada, the Research and Special Programs
Administration and the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (Mexico).
CVSA’s members include enforcement agencies from all 50 U.S. states and industry representatives throughout Canada, Mexico and the United States.
– By Aaron Ladage, staff writer