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AAA: Fewer NC drivers buckled up in 2012

Posted September 5, 2013

Seat Belt generic

— Drivers and passengers in North Carolina buckled up less often in 2012 than previous years, according to data released Thursday by AAA and the National Occupant Protection Use Survey. 

The state's buckle-up rate fell to 87.5 percent, down from 89.5 percent in 2011. Nationally, drivers and passengers used seat belts 86 percent of the time in 2012, up from 84 percent in 2011. 

David Parsons, president and CEO of AAA Carolinas, reminded drivers in a statement to buckle up and ensure all passengers are in a proper safety restraint. 

"Wearing a seat belt or vehicle restraint is the safest single thing anyone in a vehicle can do," he said. 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, seat belt usage reduces the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants by 45 percent. For trucks, SUVs and minivans, seat belts reduce the risk by 60 percent. 

Through the first half of 2013, about 41 percent of people killed in a vehicle crash in North Carolina were unrestrained, according to state crash data. 

North Carolina passed a law in 1985 making it a primary violation not to wear a seat belt, which means a police officer can pull over and cite a motorist for not wearing a seat belt.

The state requires all passengers – front and back seat – to wear a seat belt, but North Carolina's primary law applies only to the front seat and is secondary for the back seat.


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  • btneast Sep 6, 2013

    If it wern't for that annoying bell going off in my car I probably wouldn't wear my seat belts as much as I do.

    I grew up when seat belts were rarely worn, but I won't budge without buckling up now. I have seen too many wrecks where people not wearing seat belts were needlessly killed. I feel exposed and vulnerable without one now. It's just a no brainer to me.

  • jcthai Sep 6, 2013

    Oh yes, let's let everyone choose to wear seat belts or not. But let's also then pass a law that says if you are injured and not wearing a seat belt, you a) have no right to sue for your injuries since your choice is what caused them, and b) are prohibited from seeking health care unless you pay cash up front, since the public shouldn't have to pay for your choice. It is just amazing how so many pinheads don't understand the simple concept that if you don't wear a seat belt and are injured, it isn't just you who pays the price.

  • jcthai Sep 6, 2013

    No doubt this is a result of the new empowerment felt by right wingnuts since they took over government in NC. They feel safer now. And they know the gummint can't make them do nuthin. Heck, we banned Sharia law, we banned abortions, we passed a wasteful unconstitutional law requiring drug tests for welfare recipients. Heck, we don't need no stinkin' seat belts.

  • Get your IDs Sep 6, 2013

    sure they can tell-at least w/ the newer cars that ALL have shoulder belts

    Im not buying that one bit.

  • Bartmeister Sep 6, 2013

    If it wern't for that annoying bell going off in my car I probably wouldn't wear my seat belts as much as I do. It is what it is.

  • Pseudonym Sep 5, 2013

    I would so totally disobey this law...if my safety wasn't an issue.

    Seriously people. This is NASCAR country. How do you suppose those drivers survive those horrific crashes at Talladega and Daytona? Seat belts. USE THEM!!!!!!

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Sep 5, 2013

    @Whatelseisnew, what is Big Government? It's a rule...a law...that defines behavior. What is the biggest form of this that we know? A Constitutional Amendment. Biggest. Government.

    You have used the Biggest Government that we know, a Constitutional Amendment, to restrict the rights of an entire group of people.

    If you can't see that and be honest with yourself about what you actually did, then I cannot reason with you and it's pointless to continue trying to.

  • xylem01 Sep 5, 2013

    @whatelseisnew Well, what else is new? Clueless.

  • Vote for Pedro Sep 5, 2013

    Maybe it shouldn't be a law, people do have the right to be stupid. If being stupid was against the law then several folks in this forum would be behind bars. But then again, what else is new.

  • whatelseisnew Sep 5, 2013

    "If people wouldn't take advantage and abuse the law, government intervention wouldn't be necessary."

    I wonder when someone will make the Government stop abusing the law. They could start with Obama as an object lesson for all the other criminals holding elected office.