Enhancing Missouri Traffic Safety with a Primary Enforcement Seat Belt Law
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In 1984, New York became the first state to enact a mandatory seat belt law; since then, the District of Columbia and every state except New Hampshire have adopted similar laws. Of the 49 states with seat belt laws, eight states originally included primary enforcement provisions in seat belt laws, which allow police to stop a driver solely on the basis of not wearing a seat belt. In 1993, California upgraded their secondary seatbelt enforcement provision to a primary law. Since then, 12 more states and the District of Columbia have strengthened their belt laws by making them primary enforcement laws. Missouri continues to permit only secondary enforcement and allows a minimal $10 fine. In 2002, Missouri ranked 35th in the nation in belt use rate, and the fatality rate per 100,000 persons was 21.6 in Missouri versus 14.6 for the national average and 7.18 in the safest state. Further, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the economic cost of motor vehicle crashes in Missouri was $4.7 billion in 2000. A 2004 study commissioned by the National Safety Council shows Missouri could save at least $103 million dollars over the next ten years in Medicaid costs once a primary enforcement seat belt law was adopted.
Richardson, L and Hutton, J. Enhancing Traffic Safety with a Primary Enforcement Seatbelt Law. Report 01 -2005.Retrieved 09-30-09 from University of Missouri--Columbia, Institute of Public Policy Web site: http://www.truman.missouri.edu/ipp/ publications/briefs.html.
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