Raleigh - Governor Pat McCrory announced that a record 91.7 percent of North Carolinians are buckling up and regularly using seat belts, according to recent a survey conducted by RTI International.
"North Carolina is a leader in educating the public about the dangers of not wearing a seat belt while in the car, and our rising seat belt usage rate reflects the state's ongoing commitment to roadway safety and saving lives," Governor McCrory said. "We will continue to do all we can to educate the public about the dangers of not buckling up to prevent traffic-related injuries and fatalities."
In 1993, North Carolina became the first state to implement Click It or Ticket, an education and enforcement program to remind motorists that wearing a seat belt can save your life. The program aims to increase driver seat belt usage rates and reduce fatalities across North Carolina and has yielded significant results over the years.
"Our seat belt usage rate shows that more than nine out of ten North Carolinians are taking the time to buckle up when getting in a motor vehicle," said Don Nail, director of the N.C. Governor's Highway Safety Program. "We will continue educating drivers and passengers on the lifesaving importance of wearing your seat belt. North Carolina's goal is for every seat to buckle up every time."
RTI International conducted the seat belt survey in 25 counties in June to determine North Carolina's overall seat belt usage rate, as required by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The selection of counties was based on fatality and road segment data.
According to the National Occupant Protection Use Survey conducted annually by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the national seat belt use rate in 2015 was 88.5 percent, up from 86.7 in 2014. North Carolina's seat belt use rate last year was 89.9 percent.
Under North Carolina law, all drivers and passengers must have a seat belt fastened when a vehicle is being driven on a street or highway. Failure to wear a seat belt carries a fine of $179, and child passenger violations carries a fine of $263.