Drivers and passengers are constantly reminded to buckle up when they get in a car, yet many people makes excuses for why they won't follow this fundamental rule of automobile safety. While a driver is often focused on other car related concerns, like oil changes, repair costs, and auto insurance rates, a fastened seat belt should never be at the bottom of a driver's priority list. With the threat of irresponsible motorists, road hazards, and dangerous winter conditions, there is never a good reason to forego this crucial safety measure.
No excuse is good enough
Whether a driver is running on a tight schedule or is distracted by one of life's many other pressures, wearing a safety belt should remain a top priority. Some drivers feel that if they're only going a short distance, maybe to the store or around the block, they don't need to buckle up. Even if a driver has made such a trip countless times, their familiarity with the route should not be a substitute for safety. Parents with young children or inexperienced teen drivers need to be especially diligent in encouraging their passengers to buckle up as soon as they get into the car.
Time and time again, research shows that safety belts really do save lives. While safety technology and ad campaigns encouraging good seat belt practices have improved the situation over the years, national highway advocacy groups still struggle to drive the point home. Some states lag behind in terms of legislative measures that heighten the legal consequences of being pulled over without a fastened seat belt, and despite having a great overall record for automobile and road safety, the state of Massachusetts was recently criticized for lacking a primary enforcement seat belt law, according to a recent article from Nashoba Publishing.
States slow down for 'yellow' light rating
The news source revealed that a recent Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety report card gave Massachusetts a 'yellow' safety rating on its color-coded scale, meaning the state has not maximized its efforts to enforce highway safety laws. This rating is only the second-best offered by the advocacy group, suggesting that there are still ways that the state can improve its measures, namely its policies surrounding safety belt enforcement initiatives. While Massachusetts was shown to have an excellent grasp on measures involving texting restrictions, booster seat usage, and teen driving regulations, they failed to achieve green-light status due to their lack of improved seat belt laws.
Massachusetts' weak points landed it among the majority of states in terms of highway traffic safety measures, according to Nashoba Publishing. Only 10 states received the top safety ranking, while 29 were given the yellow light to encourage stricter implementation and enforcement of road laws. New Hampshire, Florida, and Arizona were among the 11 states that received a poor rating from the advocacy group, and were advised to reconsider the way they approach traffic laws. Massachusetts recognized that they need to be more diligent following end-of-year information revealing 349 traffic deaths in 2013.
"This alarming shift is a stark reminder that states must continue to pass and enforce strong, comprehensive highway safety laws," Jacqueline Gillan, president of the Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety, explained to the report coordinators.
Never enough reminders
In Kansas, state troopers are taking matters into their own hands as they tour schools and relay lessons conveying the importance of seat belt safety. A recent report from FourStates HomePage highlighted an initiative called Seatbelts Are For Everyone (SAFE) that leads workshops and demonstrations for local schools in an effort to increase awareness.