The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released a study of seatbelt usage among all age groups and races around the United States. The study was conducted in June of 2009, and involved 70,493 occupants in 49,475 vehicles in 1,496 across the U.S. The study is known as the National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS), performed by NHTSA”s National Center For Statistics and Analysis, and the focus is on seat belt use, motorcycle helmet use, child restraint use with children under the age of 8, and the use of electronic devices in vehicles.
One of the most significant findings of the most recent study is that seat belt use is lowest among those 16-24 years old. In that category, seat belt usage was at 81%. Those aged 70 and above had the highest usage with 86%, only a small percentage above 25-69 year olds, who wore their seat belts 84% of the time.
Males wear their seatbelts 81% of the time, whereas females are safer at 87%. African Americans wear their seatbelts at a 79% rate, which is a significant increase over the 75% that used the seatbelts in 2008. Caucasian seat belt usage was 84% in 2009, a small increase over the 83% observed in 2008.
Seat belt usage in rear seats has been tracked in this particular study since 2004, with only 70% of passengers in rear seats wearing their seatbelts, although this is a large increase from the 47% that wore seatbelts in the rear seats in 2004. Conversely, seat belt usage overall in front seats has been very consistent, with 80% using their seatbelts in 2004, and 84% wearing their seatbelts in the front seats in 2009. There is a significant difference between rear seat belt usage if the State’s law requires it, with 78% wearing their rear seat belts if the law requires this and only 64 % wearing rear seat belts if there is no regulation in place for rear seat belts.
Children between birth and age 7 are restrained at 88%, a slight increase over 2008 at 87%. The Midwest registered a substantial increase in seat belt usage for infants, from 85% in 2008 to 90% in 2009. Overall, the west had the highest seat belt use in the country, with 95% in 2009, and the south has the lowest, at 82%.
Contact the Westchester County Car Crash Attorneys online or toll free at 888-761-7633 if you or a loved one suffer serious injuries in a car accident, truck accident, motorcycle crash or are the victim of medical malpractice, for a free initial consulation with an attorney with over 25 years of trial experience to discuss your case in detail.