NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Study Supports Buckling Up

November 17, 2003

Hundreds of lives could be saved next year if states had tougher seat belt laws, according to a study by the National Safety Council, a private non-profit group.

Using federal highway data, the NSC concludes that fatal crashes could be reduced significantly if 30 states enacted tougher seat belt laws. The laws would allow police to stop and ticket drivers who aren't wearing a seat belt.

  • Twenty states and the District of Columbia have such laws.
  • An additional 29 states have less stringent laws that allow police officers to cite drivers for not using seat belts only if drivers are stopped for another violation.
  • New Hampshire has no seat belt law.

Federal safety organizations, including the National Transportation Safety Board, have campaigned for the tougher law for years. The safety council study says 12,000 lives could have been saved in the past eight years if every state followed the NTSB's recommendation, issued in 1995. The NSC estimates that 1,400 lives could be saved in 2004.

Source: Fred Bayles, "Study supports tougher state seat belt laws," USA Today, November 17, 2003.


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