Maryland Seat Belt Use Drops in 2018; Educational Partnership to Increase Seat Belt Use Among Young Drivers Now Underway

Press Release, Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration

Survey Shows Marylanders Are Not Buckling Up on Local Roads or in the Back Seat

GLEN BURNIE, MD (November 29, 2018) – The 2018 seat belt survey conducted by the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) showed that seat belt usage has decreased among travelers statewide. Today MDOT MVA announced that Maryland’s seat belt use rate for 2018 was 90.3 percent –  a drop from the 92 percent reported in 2017. The usage rate among passenger car drivers decreased by more than 2 percent and the use rate on secondary roads among all drivers decreased by 3 percent. In 2017, 116 people were killed in crashes on Maryland’s roads while not wearing a seat belt. 

“The two seconds it takes for you and everyone else in the vehicle to buckle up is the most important decision you can make to ensure everyone arrives home safely,” said Maryland Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn.  

MDOT MVA’s Roadside Observational Survey, which was completed in June 2018, conducted 42,100 roadside seat belt observations in 13 jurisdictions across the State. The observations included 33,800 drivers and more than 8,300 front seat passengers. In vehicles where the driver was belted, 94 percent of passengers were belted. Conversely, in vehicles with unbelted drivers only a third of passengers buckled up. 

“A seat belt prevents passengers from causing serious injuries or death to the driver or other passengers in a car crash,” said Chrissy Nizer, MDOT MVA Administrator and Governor Larry Hogan’s Highway Safety Representative. “Each one of us can set the example and ensure that everyone in the vehicle is properly belted.” 

Education is a key component for driver awareness and MDOT MVA is working to reeducate its youngest drivers on the importance of wearing seat belts. National data also shows that seat belt use tends to be lower among teen drivers and car crashes are the most common cause of death for people aged 5 through 24.  To help promote seat belt use among teens, the MDOT MVA’s Maryland Highway Safety Office (MHSO) is partnering with State Farm insurance for the second time this year in a program called Making It Click. The program is specifically intended to raise awareness about the benefit of wearing a seat belt to reduce deaths and injuries resulting from traffic crashes. 

The MDOT MVA is hosting its fall The Making It Click program in three area high schools through January 4, 2019.  The participating schools are

  • Career Technology School in Frederick County;
  • Center for Applied Technology North in Anne Arundel County; and
  • Kent Island High School in Queen Anne’s County. 

The peer-led program requires schools to complete observational seat belt surveys at the beginning and end of the program. Using toolkits provided by the MHSO, students will be able to creatively compete against other schools to raise awareness about seat belt safety. Students can create posters, videos, memes, flyers, and other materials; sign the MDOT Traffic Safety pledge cards; and illustrate and share their ideas about seat belt use and highway safety in school and through social media.  

MDOT will recognize the schools with the highest seat belt rate and the largest increase in seat belt use and at the end of the program. Follow students’ creativity on social media via #MakingItClick. 

To learn more about the MDOT MVA’s Maryland Highway Safety Office’s Toward Zero Deaths campaign, visit: towardzerodeathsmd.com, like us on Facebook @towardzerodeathsmd, follow us on Twitter @tzd_maryland, and on Instagram @twdzerodeaths_md

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