FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 14, 2019
CONTACT: Aimee Cantrell
West Virginia Governor’s Highway Safety
Program Announces All-Time Record for Safety Belt Usage
Rate Exceeds 90 Percent
CHARLESTON, WV – The West Virginia Governor’s Highway Safety
Program (GHSP) announced that West Virginia’s statewide safety belt usage rate
has reached an all-time record of 90.53 percent. The national safety belt usage
average is 90 percent.
belt usage rate has increased considerably over the past five years, which
affirms that WV GHSP and its traffic safety partners are providing effective
occupant protection programs to the citizens of West Virginia. The GHSP’s
educational efforts, Click It or Ticket campaigns, and
high visibility enforcement have helped to increase West Virginia’s safety belt
usage rates. The previous record for West Virginia safety belt compliance was 89.7
percent in 2017.
the study, observations were randomly scheduled for all days of the week during
daylight hours between 7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Observers recorded information
on vehicle type, driver gender, safety belt use, and cell phone use. They also
recorded information on passenger belt use when a passenger was present in the
front seat of the vehicle. An independent consulting firm has certified the results,
ensuring their accuracy and objectivity.
come a long way when it comes to our seat belt usage rate. When I began working
for the GHSP, West Virginia’s rate was the worst in the country,” said Bob
Tipton, GHSP Director. “With the passage of the primary safety belt law in
2013, we have seen significant improvements in several highway safety
Virginia’s first statewide safety belt survey as required by the National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was completed in 1998 with a usage rate
of 56.5 percent. An annual survey has been conducted every year since. West
Virginia’s stateside safety belt use rate has continued to trend upward every
year since the implementation of a primary safety belt law in 2013. In
addition, the number of fatalities in crashes on West Virginia roadways has
trended downward since the primary safety belt law went into effect.
of fatalities on West Virginia roadways has decreased from 432 in 2007 to 268
in 2015. The number of drivers and passengers who are ejected from a vehicle
during crash has decreased as well. West Virginians are getting the message:
seat belts save lives,” continued Tipton.
has shown that lap and shoulder combination safety belts reduce the risk of
fatal injury to front seat passenger car occupants by 45 percent when used, and
the risk of moderate-to-critical injury by 50 percent (NHTSA, 2011).
For more information about safety belts, please visit: www.nhsta.gov/risky-driving/seat-belts. For more information about the West Virginia
Governor’s Highway Safety Program, visit: http://dmv.wv.gov/Safety/Pages/GHSP.aspx or call 304-926-2509.