Seat belt use less for pickup occupants

May 16, 2005 at 1:22 PM

DETROIT, May 16 (UPI) -- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says more than 80 percent of occupants of cars use seat belts, but only 70 percent buckle up in pickups.

Data released by NHTSA Monday shows 70 percent of people killed in crashes involving pickup trucks in 2003 were not wearing seat belts. Safety belts are proven to reduce risk of serious injury or death in a crash by 45 percent in a car and by as much as 60 percent for pickups and SUVs.

NHTSA administrator Dr. Jeffrey Runge announced a $26 million national "Click It or Ticket" safety advertising and law enforcement campaign to run May 23-June 5. He praised Michigan for a 90.5 percent seat belt use compliance rate, one of the highest in the United States.

Arizona, Hawaii, Washington and Oregon also had seat belt use rates of 90 percent or better.

"While overall safety belt use is at an all-time high of 80 percent, 6,000 more lives could be saved each year if everyone buckled up," Runge said.

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