The Central Virginian

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Virginia’s seat belt use rate reaches new high of 85.3 percent

Posted on Thursday, October 26, 2017 at 5:00 am

With seat belt usage at an all-time high, DMV and other law enforcement and safety organizations want to continue diligent efforts to reach 100 percent compliance each time a driver gets into a car.

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) announced today that Virginia’s seat belt use rate has reached a record high of 85.3 percent. However, as 236 unbelted motorists have died in crashes this year in the Commonwealth, DMV, Virginia law enforcement and nonprofit partners continue their efforts toward 100 percent compliance.

“Virginia’s seat belt use rate has averaged around 79 percent, so anytime we see that number go up, it’s a great thing,” said DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb, the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative. “But, as long as Virginians continue to lose their lives because they aren’t wearing their seat belt, our work is not yet complete.”

In recent years, more than half of the people who died in Virginia crashes in vehicles equipped with safety restraints weren’t using them. In 2016, 304 unrestrained drivers or passengers were killed in Virginia crashes. There were 310 unrestrained fatalities in 2015; in 2014, there were 256.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seat belt users are 45 percent less likely to be fatally injured in a crash. In addition, statistics show that 80 percent of people ejected in a crash die; 30 percent of unbelted motorists are ejected during a crash.

To read the entire story, see the Oct. 26 edition of The Central Virginian.