Washington tops United States for seatbelt use at 97.5 percent

October 15, 2012

By Staff

NEW — 4 p.m. Oct. 15, 2012

Washington topped the United States for seatbelt use last year, according to a recent federal report.

The report said 97.5 percent of Washingtonians buckled up in 2011. The release marked the seventh consecutive year the state’s seatbelt use rate exceeded 95 percent.

The national average for seatbelt use last year reached 84 percent.

“News like this makes me proud to be living in Washington,” Darrin Grondel, Washington Traffic Safety Commission director, said in a statement. “Safe roadways are a team effort that includes everybody using their seat belts because they know that seat belts save lives.”

Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center estimates wearing lap-and-shoulder restraints reduces a vehicle passenger’s risk of dying in a crash by 61 percent.

“Our troopers have placed a very high priority on seat belt violations,” Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste said in a statement. “They see first-hand the results of not wearing seat belts and are extremely motivated to reduce these unnecessary injuries and deaths.”

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