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UTTC seat belt usage down
20 April 2006
By Michelle Schoenwald, Injury Prevention

      Results of the annual Spring Seat Belt Survey show that seat belt usage among drivers on the UTTC campus has declined since last year.

      The survey was conducted April 11 by freshman Injury Prevention students at the main college entrance near University Drive.

      The survey showed that 66 percent of men drivers were buckled up and 61 percent of women. That compares with belt usage rates of 73 percent and 70 percent respectively for men and women drivers last year.

      The decline in usage can be attributed to a number of factors: larger campus population; greater number of younger students in the student body; and unawareness about the law.

      In North Dakota, drivers may be stopped for a seatbelt violation and cited when people under age 18 are not belted or secured in child passenger seats. At age 18 and over, people who do not wear seatbelts may be cited as a secondary violation when a vehicle is stopped for another reason.

      Injury Prevention students and staff believe that more effort needs to be made to enforce the North Dakota state seat belt law.

      In addition to gathering seat belt data, Injury Prevention students also observed the following:

  • Drivers smoking
  • Children improperly buckled
  • Drivers and passengers buckling up when seeing the checkpoint
  • Motorcyclists with no helmets
  • Children riding bicycles with no safety gear
  • Children under the age of 13 riding in the front passenger seat
  • Drivers reading while driving
  • Numerous staff/faculty members not buckled up
  • Rear facing infant seat with handle up

      These observations lead to the conclusion that other safety issues need to be addressed, in particular child passenger safety seat awareness. Numerous children were not properly restrained for their age, weight, and height. Parents did not realize the danger for children in allowing them to ride in the front passenger seat.

      Even though current seat belt usage is down, it's not the lowest seat belt compliance observed during this study, which has been underway since 1997. The lowest usage recorded for men was 45 percent in 2003 and 43 percent for women drivers in 1997.

Seat belt usage

 

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