A record 80 percent of Americans now wear seat belts while driving or riding in their vehicles, saving hundreds of lives, federal Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta announced Thursday in Seattle. New statistics also show a rate of 94 percent in Washington state, second only to Hawaii, reports the Seattle Times. Half of Americans used safety belts in 1990.
Mineta attributed the national gains to primary enforcement laws in 21 states, where police can stop motorists solely for not wearing belts. Other states have less stringent seat-belt laws, while only New Hampshire imposes no requirement at all.