More People Using Their Seatbelts In Alabama

More people are buckling up these days. A new survey from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, says seat belt use in the U.S. was at 79 percent in June. That's four percent higher than the year before. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration chief Doctor Jeffrey Runge says the statistic beats his own expectations.

The survey found that sport utility vehicle and van users have the highest use rates at 83 percent. Pickup drivers have the lowest rate of seat-belt usage at 69 percent. Seat belt usage was highest in the West and the South and lowest in the Midwest and Northeast. Since 1999, when a new Alabama law began requiring all front-seat passengers to wear a seat belt, usage jumped from 58 percent to 79 percent. State officials want to increase the figure to 85 percent.

The survey also found that belt use was six percent higher in states with seat belt laws that allow police to ticket occupants just for that violation. Canada, Australia, and some Western European countries have better than 90 percent seat belt use.