That National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) has released the results of a recent study regarding the use of seatbelts by Americans. According to the NHTSA’s survey, seatbelt use has reached an all-time high in 2012 – roughly 86% of travelers are buckling up, as opposed to the 84% in 2011. The most dramatic increase in seatbelt use, according to the NHTSA, has been seen in the southern region of the United States, where seatbelt use rose from 80% in 2011 to 85% in 2012.

Seatbelt use has steadily increased since 1994, the NHTSA reports, but continues to be higher in states with primary belt laws, which allow law enforcement officers to issue citations to motorists solely for not using a seatbelt rather than requiring additional traffic violations. In the United States, only New Hampshire has no law on the books regarding seatbelt use (although it does have a law that applies to all drivers and passengers under the age of 18 years). 32 states and the District of Columbia have passed primary laws requiring seatbelt use, while another 17 states have secondary laws. New Hampshire is the only state that has not enacted either a primary or secondary seatbelt law, though the state’s primary child passenger safety law applies to all drivers and passengers under the age of 18.

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