News Release from NHTSA
In 2010, seat belt use in the United States ranged from 72.2 percent in New Hampshire to 97.6 percent in Hawaii and Washington. These results are from probability-based observational surveys conducted by 50 States, the District of Columbia, and U.S. Territories. These surveys are conducted in accordance with criteria established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to ensure reliable results. Compliance with the criteria is verified annually by NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis.The 2010 State and Territory surveys also found the following:
- Fifteen States and the District of Columbia achieved use rates of 90 percent or higher. These States include Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, California, Michigan, Maryland, Texas, New Jersey, Nevada, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Alabama, and Delaware.
- Jurisdictions with stronger seat belt enforcement laws continue to exhibit generally higher use rates than those with weaker laws. Kansas strengthened its seat belt law to a primary enforcement law, effective June 2010. This State saw a jump in use rate from 77.0 percent in 2009 to 81.8 percent in 2010.
- Seat belt use rates in the States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, other U.S. Territories, and nationwide from 2003 to 2010 are listed in the following table. Rates in jurisdictions with primary seat belt enforcement during the calendar year of the survey are shaded in the table. However, the law might not have taken effect when the survey was being conducted.
National Seat Belt Use Rate
The nationwide seat belt use was 85 percent in 2010 as measured by NHTSA’s National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS). NOPUS is a national probability-based survey, which is independent from State belt use surveys. NOPUS provides NHTSA’s official measure of nationwide seat belt use in the United States and other related information. Due to a difference in survey methodology, this survey provides a different measure of nationwide use than would be obtained by combining the use rates from the States and Territories.
NHTSA: Seat Belt Use in 2010—Use Rates in the States and Territories