Seat belts save lives! Time and again, safety belts are your number one defense if involved in a crash! Boasting an overall safety belt use rate of more than 93 percent in 2007, Maryland continues its climb toward the ultimate goal of 100 percent safety belt use. With particular emphasis on young drivers and pick up truck drivers, Maryland’s statewide partners remain committed to educating the public on the benefits of properly using safety belts and aggressively enforcing Maryland’s primary safety belt law when necessary.
Maryland Fast Facts
- In 1997, Maryland instituted a primary safety belt law, allowing police officers to stop a motorist for not wearing a safety belt.
- In the 10 years since the law was enacted, seat belt use has risen from 80 percent in 1997 to 93.1 percent in 2007.
- During this same 10-year time period, the annual number of traffic-related injuries in Maryland has decreased by more than 22 percent from 1997 levels.
- In 2006, 181 drivers and passengers killed in motor vehicle collisions across the State were not wearing a safety belt. Nearly 100 of those killed would be alive today if they were buckled.
- Ejection from the vehicle is one of the most serious events that can occur during a vehicle crash. Of those ejected from a vehicle, 75 percent are killed as a result of the ejection.
- Nationwide, safety belt use was at a near all-time high in 2006 at a rate of 81 percent. The highest average seen nationwide occurred during 2005 when the rate was observed at 82 percent.
- As of 2006, 24 states had primary enforcement laws and the trend toward primary enforcement continues in many secondary law states.
- Click it or Ticket, the national safety belt use campaign, runs during the latter part of May and is being accompanied by a media budget of more than $7.5 million in 2008.
- Every driver and front seat passenger next to the door must wear a seat belt, regardless of their age.
- Everyone under the age of 16 must wear a seat belt, regardless of where they are sitting in the vehicle.
- Maryland law requires children to use booster seats until they reach age 8, a weight of 65 pounds or a height of 4'9", whichever comes first.
- Every child under the age of 16 must either be secured in a child safety seat or restrained by a seat belt.
- Children under the age of 16 may not ride in an unenclosed bed of a pickup truck.
Click it or Ticket
Click it or Ticket is a high-publicity law enforcement effort that gives people another reason to buckle up — a traffic ticket. Most people buckle up for safety. But for some people, it is the threat of a ticket that spurs them to put on a safety belt. In Click It or Ticket programs, law enforcement agencies are being asked to focus on safety belt violations and publicize the stepped-up efforts.
It is the two-pronged approach – education and enforcement - that makes these campaigns powerful: Not only are tickets issued to unbelted motorists, but the surrounding publicity ensures that people know they are more likely to get a ticket. Maryland law enforcement is very active at both the state and local levels with the Click it or Ticket campaign.
Buckle Up, Tough Guy
Conducted in partnership with local radio stations, Buckle Up Tough Guy is specifically geared toward targeting one of Maryland’s most notoriously difficult to reach audiences. With a safety belt use rate far below that of automobile drivers, this campaign provides a mechanism to reach out to pickup truck drivers with specific messaging and media.
The National SAFE KIDS Campaign is the first and only national non-profit organization dedicated solely to the prevention of unintentional childhood injury — the number one killer of children ages 14 and under. More than 300 state and local SAFE KIDS coalitions in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico comprise the Campaign.
Maryland’s SAFE KIDS units are continually active with respect to child safety by sponsoring child safety seat checks, coordinating press events, and generally maintaining information for use by parents and caregivers to keep children safe while traveling.