Seat belt statistics speak for themselves. Wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of dying in a car accident by 45 percent and of sustaining a critical injury by 50 percent. Yet many drivers still don't buckle up. A new study may shed some light on how to fix this problem – it found that teen drivers and passengers in states with primary seat belt laws are more likely to use their seat belts.
Often promoted as "click it or ticket," primary seat belt laws mean that a driver can be pulled over and charged solely for not wearing a seat belt. This differs from secondary laws which mean police officers must stop a driver for a different reason, such as speeding, in order to ticket for being unbelted.
The new study examined more than 3,000 high school drivers and found that teens in states with only secondary seat belt laws were 12 percent less likely to wear a seat belt when driving and 15 percent less likely to wear one as a passenger than teens in states with primary laws. Additionally, the study found that teens in states with secondary laws use seat belts less as they transition from a learner license to an unrestricted one.
Pennsylvania seat belt laws are currently secondary, so it is important to make teen drivers aware of the dangers of driving without a belt. Using a seat belt can mean the difference between a fender bender and a life-changing accident, so stay safe on the road and remember to always buckle up.