Contact Street Smarts
Teen seat belt use at all time high
Seat belt use among teens has reached record proportions, according to the California Office of Traffic Safety. In the past two years, teen seat belt use has jumped from 94 percent in 2010 to 96.1 percent this year, a number that nearly matches the statewide average for all vehicle occupants – 96.9 percent. What's more the new teen seat belt use rate is a large increase from four years ago, when there was a 88.9 percent compliance rate. “We are encouraged by these latest results,” said Christopher J. Murphy, OTS Director, of the statistics garnered by a recent CSU Fresno survey.. “Everyone in the car buckling up for every trip, every day, is the single most effective way to protect people and reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes. This is especially true with teen drivers, the age group with the highest crash rates.” The OTS credits California's seat belt enforcement and education campaigns, such as Click It or Ticket, Start Smart, Teen Smart and Friday Night Live for the increase in seat belt use. The CSU Fresno observation survey found that Santa Cruz and Contra Costa counties had a 100 percent usage rate, though ongoing day-to-day use is likely lower. In Monterey County, the researcher found an 87.2 percent usage rate. Meanwhile, nationally, seat belt use among teens is in the low 80 percent range.