Study shows steady increase in seat belt use since 2002; police still say not enough

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – Seat belts can save your life but not everyone wears them, despite it being a primary law in the state of Arkansas.  One out of every four people doesn't wear their seat belt.  About 70-percent of Arkansans do buckle up.  Officers say every person who is not wearing a seat belt is putting their life at risk.

On Wednesday we saw drivers who did buckle up while many others were not.

"I think there are a lot of reasons that they do and a lot of reasons that they don't," said Jonesboro Police Department Sergeant Stephen McDaniel.

Sgt. McDaniel said since not wearing your seat belt has become a primary offense in the state of Arkansas more people think about it!

"Maybe a family member taught them, maybe they were contacted by a police officer at some point, maybe they received a citation they don't want to receive again," said McDaniel.

The Jonesboro Police Department did a survey of 100 drivers this spring and 76 of them were buckled up.

Over the past decade the number of people who are actually wearing their seat belts has constantly been going up and officers say they expect those numbers to rise even more.  Since 2002 Arkansas and Missouri have seen a steady increase in the number of people who are belted into their seat belts.

"They develop a habit of wearing a seat belt and they just don't feel right when they get behind the wheel without wearing a seatbelt," said McDaniel.

McDaniel said he thinks there are a lot of reasons why people do and do not wear a seat belt.  He said age and what people are taught play a role.

"There are a lot of excuses why people don't wear seat belts but I don't think there are any good reasons," said McDaniel.

We have all been taught that a seat belt can save our lives.  McDaniel said seat belts do three things:  first they hold you inside the vehicle when you have an accident, second the seat belt will distribute the force of the accident to the strongest parts of your body, and third the seatbelt is designed to stretch with you on impact.

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