Thanks to the introduction of mandatory seat belt laws and safety campaigns like Click It or Ticket, seat belt use in the United States has reached an all time high in recent years. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported earlier this year that compliance is up to 89.6% across the United States. This is up from just 70.7% in 2000.
While this trend is heartening, far too many people still do not buckle up.That remaining 10.4% is about 27.5 million people putting their lives at risk. The NHTSA reported that of the 37,133 people killed in car crashes in 2017, almost half were not wearing safety belts. This is why the Maryland police step up enforcement every spring with Click It or Ticket.
Don’t Make Excuses
Many people make excuses for not buckling up, but there is never a good reason for not buckling up. It doesn’t make you cool and it doesn’t make you a rebel. It makes you a projectile during a crash. Not only does this reduce the likelihood of your survival, it increases the chances of your hurting someone else. Front seat passengers may be seriously injured or killed by unbelted backseat passengers in a crash.
It’s the Law
Whether you’re a Maryland resident or just driving through, our seat belt laws apply to you. All drivers and passengers must wear seat belts.
If you’re a driver, front seat passenger, or back seat passenger under sixteen, these laws are subject to primary enforcement. That means that the police can ticket you for these seat belt violations alone. The laws are subject to secondary enforcement for back seat passengers over sixteen. Separate tickets will be written for each unrestrained passenger, including the driver, in addition to any other violations.
The Statistics Speak for Themselves
The facts are clear: seat belts save lives.
- Three-point seat belts reduce the risk of fatal injury by 45% in cars and 60% in light trucks.
- Unrestrained passengers are 30 times as likely to be ejected during a crash.
- Of those ejected, more than three-quarters die from their injuries.
The goal of Click It or Ticket is not to hand out as many tickets as possible. It is to improve seat belt compliance and save lives. The combination of education and enforcement has been wildly successful so far since the campaigns began in 1993. Still, we won’t stop until 100% of drivers and passengers buckle up every time they get in the car.
Remember, there is no good excuse for not buckling up.