13.3 Seat Belt Usage Rates
This indicator is part of Safe travel on streets.
Seat belt usage notes the percent of the time that drivers and passengers were wearing their seat belts when operating or riding in a motor vehicle. The local trend is only available as the percent of vehicle occupants who were injured while wearing a seat belt. Comparable data consists of observations taken by surveyors who observed a sample of vehicle occupant seat belt usage in various parts of each state. Data for this indicator is only available at the state level, not the local community level, and is not directly comparable to the local data which involved crash victims.
Rollover and click the interactive graphs to make comparisons
Source for above chart: New Mexico Department of Transportation, UNM/DGR.
Why is this indicator relevant?
Traffic accidents are a major source of fatalities and serious injuries. Seat belt usage saves lives and reduces injuries in collisions. Mandatory seat belt laws, such as New Mexico has, encourage seat belt usage. Studies demonstrate that enforcement is effective and encouraging compliance when citizens believe it is likely that they'll be caught; certainty of punishment is more effective than higher fines in encouraging compliance. Several states, including New Mexico, allow seatbelt laws to be enforced even where there is no other observed traffic violation; these jurisdictions tend to have the highest rate of seat belt usage compliance.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Crash-Stats; New Mexico Department of Transportation, UNM/DGR.
What can we tell from the data?
- Albuquerque's rate of seat belt usage is good, and has remained over 80% over the last 7 years.
- Compared to contiguous Southwest states, New Mexico has a high rate of seat belt usage, even though usage decreased slightly in 2009 and 2010.
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