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Southern California Traffic Safety: Teen Seat Belt Usage on the Rise

December 31, 1969

Seat belt usage for teenagers has jumped more than 2 percent in the last 2 years. About 94 percent of teens wore their seat belt in 2010 and now more than 96 percent report everyday seat belt usage.

This nearly matches the usage rate for all vehicle occupants throughout the state of California, which currently sits at about 96.6 percent. This is the largest increase over a 4-year period for our young motorists. Just 4 years ago, the seat belt usage rate was less than 89 percent, according to the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS).
"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," said Christopher J. Murphy, the Director of OTS.

Our Costa Mesa car accident lawyers understand that teen seat belt rates for the nation is lower than 80 percent. There are a number of reasons, according to safe driving advocates, as to why the state of California has such a high usage rate among young drivers. Many believe that it's because of the awareness campaigns and the heavy enforcement of seat belt laws. We have the Friday Night Live campaign, the Every 15 Minutes, Start Smart, the Right Turn and the Teen Smart campaigns that target these young drivers and their seat belt use.

Teen Seat Belt Usage in the Spring of 2012:

-Passenger seat belt usage among teens is up more than 10 percent from just 3 years ago.

-More teen girls wear their seat belt during every car ride than guys.

-Teen drivers of pickup trucks were the least likely to buckle up during every car ride.

-Santa Cruz and Contra Costa both returned a 100 percent usage rage among teens, although officials believe that the actual rate is lower than what was actually reported.

-Teens in Monterey County were the least likely to wear a set belt, with a usage rate of roughly 87 percent.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), teenagers buckle up a seat belt less often than adults. They are in fact the age group with the lowest rate of usage. In 2009, close to 60 percent of the people between the ages of 16 and 20 who were involved in a deadly car accident were not wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident.

We're asking parents to step in. We can't always keep an eye on our teens, but we can work to instill safe driving habits. Be sure to set a safe and responsible example for them and buckle up every time you're in the car with them. You should also talk with them frequently about the risks of irresponsible driving habits and of not wearing a seat belt. Your words of wisdom are a lot more powerful on our teens than you might think.

If you have been injured in a traffic accident, contact personal injury lawyer Vincent Howard today for a free and confidential consultation. Call (800) 872-5925.

Similar articles:

Teenage Drivers in Southern California Mimicking Parents' Driving Habits, California Injury Lawyers, October 1, 2012

L.A. Traffic Safety: You May Just be a Bad Driver, California Injury Lawyers, August 31, 2012