Monday, May 21, 2012

Background on Seat Belts in Washington


Looking Back
2012 marks the 10th anniversary of Washington’s seat belt law changing from a secondary law to a primary law. That change allowed law enforcement to issue a seat belt ticket when there was no other citable traffic infraction. Also that year, Washington adopted the Click It or Ticket project that was being used in other states. In one year the use rate jumped 10 percentage points. (WTSC)

In Washington during the past ten years, 1,010 lives have been saved by drivers and passengers using seat belts. This estimate is based on an assumption that the 2001 vehicle-occupant death rate of 0.95 per 100 million vehicle-miles traveled remained constant through 2011. (WTSC)

In the past ten years, traffic deaths on Washington roadways are down 29 percent and serious injuries are down 28 percent, while vehicle-miles traveled increased 6.6 percent over this same period. (FARS, WSDOT)

Year
Number of
Traffic Deaths
Number of Vehicle Occupant Deaths
1999
637
526
2000
631
511
2001
649
509
2002
658
513
2003
600
449
2004
567
419
2005
649
476
2006
633
470
2007
571
415
2008
521
361
2009
492
348
2010
460
315
2011
*455
*304
 *Preliminary & expected to change



Timeline Notes (WTSC, NHTSA)

1986
Many states begin conducting and reporting observational seat belt surveys. By the end of 1986, 22 states had passed a seat belt law, including Washington, which passed a secondary law. That is, law enforcement officers could issue a ticket for not wearing a seat belt only when there was another citable traffic infraction. In one year, the use rate increased from 36 percent to 52 percent.

1995
Seat belt use reaches 80 percent.

2002
  • Washington conducted its first Click It or Ticket campaign, following in the footsteps of several other states.
  • Separately, the Washington Legislature passed a bill changing the seat belt law from a secondary law to a primary law. The use rate jumped 10 points from 82.6 to 92.6.
  • Washington has the highest seat belt use rate in the nation. This achievement is repeated in 2003 and 2006.
2007                                                                                           
The Click It or Ticket campaigns moved to nighttime hours as a test project for the country because the national traffic death rate at night is four times higher.

2011                                                                                           
From 2002 through 2011 the seat belt use rate increased to 97.5 percent. For the past ten years, Washington consistently has had one of the highest seat belt rates in the nation.



Seat belt tickets issued in the past 10 years
2001 - 8,504
2002 - 15,579
2003 - 15,978
2004 - 19,941
2005 - 24,179
2006 - 18,618
2007 - 24,340
2008 - 35,125
2009 - 78,495
2010 - 72,268
2011 - 68,633
Total - 381,660

In 2002 the cost of a seat belt ticket was $86. In 2012 a seat belt ticket cost $124. (AOC)


General Seat Belt Information
The medical costs of an unbuckled motorist average $11,000 more per collision than those who buckle up (HIPRC).

When motorists are unbuckled, often they are ejected partially or completely from vehicles. By wearing seat belts, they reduce their risk of being ejected by 81% (HIPRC).

When used correctly, lap and shoulder belts reduce the risk of fatal injury by 60 percent and the risk of head injury by 80 percent. (HIPRC)

Currently, the nighttime death rate in Washington is about three times (2.8) higher than the daytime rate. (FARS, WSDOT)

Compared to people who drive during the day with seat belts on, nighttime unbuckled drivers are: (WTSC)
  • Three times more likely to have felony records.
  • Twice as likely to have criminal records for offenses involving violence.
  • Three times more likely to have a DUI on their records.
  • More than twice as likely to have a negligent or reckless driving violation on their driving records.

The seat belt law is a primary-enforcement law in Washington, so an officer can pull over a vehicle if a driver — or passenger — is not buckled up. If the unbuckled passenger is under age 16, the driver gets the ticket; if unbuckled passengers are age 16 or older, they get their own seat belt tickets. (RCW 46.61.688)

Source Key
FARS - Fatality Analysis Reporting System
WTSC - Washington Traffic Safety Commission
WSDOT - Washington State Department of Transportation
RCW - Revised Codes of Washington
HIPRC - Harborview Injury Prevention Research Center
AOC - Administrative Office of the Courts (Washington’s)

Source: King County Traffic Safety Task Force

2 comments:

  1. Belts
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  2. I am glad you found this information helpful - we plan on providing a good variety of safety information. Stay safe.

    ReplyDelete

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