In a press release put out this week by the New York Governor’s Office, Governor Cuomo announced that New York’s seat belt usage rate has reached an all-time high of 91.09%.
The announcement comes on the heels of a new survey, the New York State Seat Belt Observation Survey, conducted by the University at Albany’s Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research (ITSMR). Funded by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC), the survey monitored drivers and front-seat passengers for seat belt usage at 120 locations in 12 New York counties.
The survey concluded that this year’s seat belt compliance rate was up to 91.09%, up from 90.43% in 2012 and 90.54% in 2011.
Governor Cuomo was pleased at the progress, noting New York’s position at the forefront of driver safety efforts:
Nearly 30 years ago, New York led the nation by passing the first seat belt law, and today the vast majority of New York’s drivers and passengers are now taking this simple step of buckling up to protect themselves on the road. It is clear that efforts by the State to promote driver safety can instill good driving habits and ultimately save lives. Just like the seat belt law, our unprecedented crackdown on distracted driving and tough new penalties for drivers who text behind the wheel can change a dangerous driving habit, so that we continue to make New York’s roads the safest in the country. Our record-high seat belt usage rate is a testimony to this fact, and we will further this progress through every means available.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration confirms the importance of wearing a seatbelt. According to their statistics, seat belts saved an estimated 11,949 lives nationwide in 2011 (the last year for which nationwide statistics are available). Also in 2011, the national seatbelt usage rate was 84%–with New York being only one of seventeen states to achieve a usage rate over 90 percent.