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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Buckle Up!

I came across an article from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that gave results from a report about seat belt use. The report found that 6 out of 7 drivers use seat belts, which is a vast improvement over the way things used to be. Health officials noted that the country still has a ways to go in promoting seat belt use, however. One in seven drivers still don't buckle up, and among children and young people aged five to 34 in the United States, motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death. In fact, wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of being killed or seriously injured in a crash by about 50 percent, the CDC reports.

Here are some other results from the report:

-Seat belt use varies state-to-state, from a high of 94 percent who buckle up in Oregon to a low of 59 percent in North Dakota.
-Seat belt use is highest (88 percent) in states where the police can pull drivers over for not wearing a seat belt. Seat belt use drops to 79 percent in states where a ticket can only be given if the driver was pulled over for another traffic violation.
-If all states allowed drivers to be pulled over for seat belt violations alone, researchers estimate that another 7.3 million Americans would have buckled up in 2008.
-The 19 states without laws allowing people to be pulled over for seat belt violations accounted for nearly half of the drivers and passengers who don't wear seat belts.
-Seven states report that 90 percent of their citizens wear seat belts, including Oregon, California, Washington, Hawaii, New Jersey and Texas. New Hampshire is the only state that has no seat belt law.

To increase seat belt use and to reduce injuries the CDC recommends:

-Seat belt laws that cover all drivers and passengers in the front and back seats.
-Wearing seat belts on every trip.
-Requiring everyone in the car to buckle up.
-Making sure children use seat belts, booster seats, or car seats, whichever is appropriate.
-Having all children 12 and under sit in the back seat.

The report can be found in an early release from Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). If you want to read the whole report, here is the link: Vital Signs: Nonfatal, Motor Vehicle–Occupant Injuries (2009) and Seat Belt Use (2008) Among Adults — United States

If you prefer the PDF version, here's the link: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/wk/mm59e0104.pdf

So, the next time you get in a car, make sure you buckle up!

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