MVA also announces new campaign to get more teenagers to use their seat belts.
Baltimore, Md (KM). Seat belt usage in Maryland increased slightly last year. According to the 2019 Roadside Observation Seat Belt Survey, buckling up went up from 90.3% last year to 90.4% this year.
Motor Vehicle Administrator Chrissy Nizer calls this good news. “Obviously, we’re glad to see it’s in the 90% percent range. But, really, we want to make sure our drivers are buckling up every time they get behind the wheel, and passengers too,” she says.
The MVA completed the survey in June. It consisted of roadside observations of 32,433 passenger vehicles and trucks in 13 jurisdictions across Maryland. It observed 31,205 drivers and more than 7,600 passengers using their seat belts.
Nizer says seat belt use should be a habit among drivers and passengers. She also says it’s especially important for back seat drivers to buckle up. “Even if you’re safely belted in the front seat, if one of your passengers in the back seat is not belted, and you’re in a crash, that individual could become a projectile and, unfortunately, injure or kill someone who belted in the front,” she says.
In, 2018, 105 people were killed in crashes on Maryland roads were not wearing a seat belt, says the MVA. The agency also says teenagers tend not to use a seat belt as much as other drivers and passengers. Car crashes are the most common cause of death among people age 5 to 24.
In order to get more teenagers to use seat belts, the MVA has launched a program called “Seat Belts Look Good On You.” “At every at MVA branch office, on the third Friday of the month during the school year, if someone passes the driver’s skills test and get their license, they’ll have the choice of getting a seat belt neck tie, or a seat belt Maryland Flag scarf,” says Nizer.
“Our hope is that when they wear one of those two, they will remember to buckle up, and will also be a signal to everyone else who sees them that it’s so important,” Nizer adds.
She says the idea for the “Seat Belts Look Good On You” campaign came from an Maryland Department of Transportation executive who was looking for ways to encourage more teenagers to buckle up.
By Kevin McManus