As an auto accident attorney in Southaven, Mississippi, I’ve seen the importance of wearing your seatbelt in many cases. Buckling up is such a simple precaution, yet so many drivers in Northern Mississippi and Memphis choose to avoid the safety measure altogether.
Why is that, you ask? I can’t tell you exactly why many people choose not to wear their seat belt, but I can give you statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Association.
Let’s begin with some positives: seat belt use in 2012 rose to eighty-six percent in the United States, up from eighty-four percent the year before.
Seat belt use across the country has shown an increasing trend since 1994, when it was at only fifty-eight percent.
Now for the disturbing news: by U.S. region, the South has the second-lowest seat belt usage in the country, tied with the Midwest. While it rose from the worst in 2011 (at eighty percent), only eighty-five percent of Americans in the South buckle up. Mississippi and Tennessee are both considered part of the South region.
Mississippi and Tennessee both have primary enforcement seat belt laws. Only five states in the U.S. do not incorporate a primary enforcement law.
Drivers in the U.S. traveling in SUVs and vans are the most likely to buckle up, at eighty-seven percent, while drivers and passengers in pickup trucks are the least likely, at seventy-four percent.
When do the most Americans buckle up? The statistics show that when traveling through a light fog, ninety-three percent of Americans use their seat belt.
As an auto accident attorney, I’m thrilled to see the increase in seat belt use in Mississippi and Tennessee as well as across the entire country. I still feel the South can do better, however, and hope that one day the eighty-five percent usage moves to one hundred percent.
If you have questions about seat belt usage in Northern Mississippi or the Memphis metro area or have been injured in an auto accident, contact an experienced auto accident injury attorney for the guidance you need.