Seat Belt Usage in Virginia Increased by 83%

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Using a seat belt is one of the easiest ways to prevent serious injuries or death in a car accident. Many of us know this by now, and in general, seat belt usage is increasing across the U.S. But different areas have varying laws surrounding seat belt usage, so seat belt usage rates differ from state to state. The result of using a seat belt is static across the board though: it reduces crash-related death and injuries by half. More than 50% of teens and adults who died in crashes in 2016 were not buckled up at the time of the accident.

States like North Dakota, Virginia and Massachusetts that see an increase in seat belt usage can thank effective initiatives. Whereas states like Wyoming, Oregon and Hawaii, which have seen a decrease in seat belt usage, should consider why fewer folks are buckling up.

Rankings

We looked at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data to compare seat belt usage from 2000 to 2017 in each state to find which states had the highest rate of improvement. Figures are based on seatbelt usage among drivers in fatal crashes. Rankings 1 (highest) to 50 (lowest) reflect states with the highest increase in seat belt usage.

Rank (Highest) State Usage Rate in 2000 Usage Rate in 2017 Increase in Seat Belt Usage
1 North Dakota 20.7% 49.5% 139%
2 Virginia 37.5% 68.5% 83%
3 Massachusetts 25.3% 44.8% 77%
4 Rhode Island 35.4% 59.0% 67%
5 Tennessee 43.5% 67.8% 56%
T-6 Mississippi 39.9% 61.6% 54%
T-6 Minnesota 45.9% 70.7% 54%
8 Kansas 38.3% 58.7% 53%
9 Iowa 44.5% 64.8% 46%
10 Louisiana 44.1% 62.6% 42%
11 South Dakota 34.5% 47.9% 39%
12 Maine 50.8% 68.9% 36%
13 Florida 58.1% 78.2% 35%
T-14 Arkansas 46.0% 61.2% 33%
T-14 Kentucky 49.8% 66.1% 33%
16 Indiana 50.2% 66.0% 31%
T-17 Delaware 50.3% 65.0% 29%
T-17 Utah 53.9% 69.4% 29%
19 Idaho 43.4% 55.4% 28%
T-20 Alaska 49.5% 63.1% 27%
T-20 Arizona 52.1% 66.1% 27%
T-22 Illinois 52.8% 66.7% 26%
T-22 Connecticut 51.6% 64.8% 26%
24 Washington 56.9% 70.9% 25%
25 South Carolina 55.5% 68.7% 24%
26 Georgia 55.1% 67.3% 22%
T-27 Missouri 45.6% 55.3% 21%
T-27 New Hampshire 38.9% 46.9% 21%
T-27 New Jersey 63.3% 76.3% 21%
30 Nevada 60.5% 72.9% 20%
31 Pennsylvania 45.7% 54.6% 19%
T-32 Wisconsin 50.5% 59.6% 18%
T-32 Vermont 57.3% 67.6% 18%
34 California 69.0% 80.8% 17%
T-35 Nebraska 39.1% 45.5% 16%
T-35 North Carolina 62.5% 72.5% 16%
37 Oklahoma 51.3% 58.3% 14%
T-38 Ohio 54.8% 61.9% 13%
T-38 Michigan 65.0% 73.4% 13%
40 New Mexico 62.3% 68.7% 10%
T-41 New York 64.7% 70.8% 9%
T-41 Colorado 62.0% 67.3% 9%
43 Montana 48.1% 51.9% 8%
44 Texas 67.7% 72.7% 7%
T-45 Alabama 52.8% 56.1% 6%
T-45 West Virginia 46.6% 49.3% 6%
47 Maryland 70.5% 73.5% 4%
48 Wyoming 49.7% 46.6% -6%
49 Oregon 73.9% 67.6% -9%
50 Hawaii 68.4% 60.2% -12%