National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs
Washington, DC - National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Mark V. Rosenker today welcomed passage by the New Hampshire House of Representatives of a bill providing for primary enforcement of seat belt laws.
"This is a good step forward," said Rosenker. "Legislation requiring vehicle occupants to use seat belts is the single greatest life-saving measure New Hampshire can enact. Simply put - seat belt laws get people to use their belts, and increased seat belt usage will mean fewer deaths on New Hampshire's highways. I applaud the New Hampshire House for taking the initiative on this important safety issue, and would strongly urge that House Bill 802 become law."
The Safety Board has recognized for many years that motor vehicle crashes are responsible for more deaths than crashes in all other transportation modes combined. Every year, more than 90 percent of all transportation-related deaths are caused by highway crashes. The single greatest defense against highway fatalities is a vehicle's seat belts. When used properly, seat belts reduce the risk of fatal injury to front seat vehicle occupants by 45 percent.
Seat belt laws are instrumental in increasing seat belt use, and the stronger the law, the greater the use. Seat belt use in the United States remains considerably lower than in other industrialized nations precisely because other countries have stronger seat belt laws, and New Hampshire, with no adult seat belt law, has the lowest belt use in the country.
Although opponents to primary enforcement seat belt laws claim that non-use is a personal choice and affects only the individual, the fact is that motor vehicle injuries and fatalities impose significant costs on society - in terms of lost workplace and household productivity, as well as through increased insurance premiums and higher taxes.
NTSB Office of Public Affairs: (202) 314-6100
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged with determining the probable cause
of transportation accidents, promoting transportation safety, and assisting victims of transportation accidents and their families.