Washington, DC – In reaction to the enactment of stricter seat belt laws in Mississippi and Alaska in the last week – laws that allow law enforcement officers to stop and ticket drivers based solely on a seat belt violation, also called a primary seat belt law – Phil Haseltine, Executive Director of the National Safety Council’s Air Bag & Seat Belt Safety Campaign, issued the following statement:
“We are thrilled that two more states will come to realize the life saving, and cost saving benefits of primary seat belt laws. The governors, legislators, and all the people who worked to pass these bills deserve a round of applause. Congress and the President also deserve credit for providing incentive funds to encourage states to pass primary laws.”
Alaska and Mississippi became the 23rd and 24th states to enact primary seat belt laws. Nearly 62 percent of the U.S. population is now covered by primary laws. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, states that have enacted primary laws on average experienced an 11-percentage point increase in belt use.
Surface transportation legislation signed by the President into law in August, 2005 provides one-time grants equal to 4.75 times a state’s annual (Section 402) highway safety allocation to states that pass primary enforcement seat belt laws covering all passenger vehicles or, absent a primary enforcement law, achieve seat belt use of 85 percent or greater for two consecutive years. States having primary enforcement laws prior to December 2002 receive smaller one-time grants.
The National Safety Council (www.nsc.org) saves lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the roads, through leadership, research, education and advocacy.