Seat belt use in Wisconsin has reached an all time high. The 2016 survey conducted by the Wisconsin Department Of Transportation found 88.4 percent of drivers and front seat passengers buckled up. The percentage was 85.8 last year. Wisconsin’s belt use rate still lags neighboring states where usage exceed 90 percent.
Although safety belt use in Wisconsin has increased, approximately half of the drivers and passengers killed in traffic crashes here last year were not buckled up. In 2015, there were nearly 55,000 convictions in Wisconsin for failure to fasten a safety belt.
The 2016 observational survey also found the following:
· Occupants of sports utility vehicles (SUVs) were the most likely to buckle-up. Their safety belt use rate was 93.7 percent.
· Occupants of pickup and commercial trucks were the least likely to buckle up. The pickup occupants’ use rate was 81.5 percent, and commercial truck occupants’ use rate was slightly less than 80 percent.
· Females were more likely to buckle up than males. The female occupants’ use rate was 93.1 percent while the males’ use rate was 84.4 percent. However, this gender difference of 8.7 percent is lower than in past surveys, which had a difference of 10 percent or more.
· The safety belt use rate in the Milwaukee metro area increased to 86 percent. In last year’s survey, the Milwaukee metro area had a use rate of about 80 percent.
“We are encouraged that effective safety belt enforcement and education are showing positive results,” said David Pabst, director of the WisDOT Bureau of Transportation Safety.