As fatal car accidents continue to rise across the country, a national ‘Click it or Ticket’ campaign kicked off this week. With Memorial Day marking the start of summer travel, state troopers from Massachusetts, along with those from New Hampshire and Maine, are working hard to promote seat belt use in New England. Nationwide motor vehicle deaths are up 10% this year, and deaths are up 17% in Massachusetts. Contact a Boston Auto Accident Lawyer Today.
In Massachusetts, it is mandatory to wear a seat belt, regardless of age. This is different from some states, such as New Hampshire, that only require seat belt use under the age of 18. According to Tom Barron, a Chief Deputy Sheriff in Maine, “We see the difference seat belts make.” Maine’s seat belt compliance rate is at 85.5%, compared to Massachusetts’ 74.4%. Why the difference? It may have to do with the fact that not wearing a seat belt in Maine is a primary offense, meaning police can stop vehicles if a driver or passenger is not wearing a seat belt. In Massachusetts, that’s not the case. Not wearing a seat belt is a secondary offense in Mass. Not only are MA police officers prohibited from stopping vehicles strictly for non-seat belt use, not wearing a seat belt has no bearing if charges are filed.
Men Ages 18 to 34 Least Likely to Wear Seat Belts
The Click it or Ticket campaign urges everyone to wear seat belts at all times. According to statistics, women are more likely to use seat belts than their male counterparts. According to Massachusetts Director of Highway Safety, Jeff Larson, men between the ages of 18 and 34 who drive pick-up trucks are the most likely group to not wear seat belts in MA. There is also an issue with newly licensed drivers – mostly teens – who opt not to use a seat belt.
In addition to always wearing a seat belt, it is crucial that we all become more attentive while driving. This is especially true around emergency vehicles and in construction zones. Just last week, a state trooper from New Hampshire was seriously injured when he was struck during a traffic stop in Bedford, N.H. And in 2015, a total of 23 NH police vehicles were struck between Thanksgiving and February. Distracted driving is becoming a nationwide epidemic. Texting, talking on the phone, operating a navigational system, adjusting the stereo, and eating are all forms of distracted driving. But there is no question – texting while driving is the biggest concern, and this problem is going to get worse before it gets better. Until technology advances to a point at which we can text without being distracted (which isn’t likely to be soon), the death toll is going to continue to rise.
Put down the phone and put on your seat belt. Not wearing a seat belt is only a secondary offense in Massachusetts. Unfortunately, that distinction will not save your life in a crash. A seat belt might. Use your head, and buckle up every time you’re on the road.
Altman & Altman, LLP – Boston’s Premier Motor Vehicle Accident Law Firm
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car or truck accident, the skilled injury team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. We will evaluate the details of your case to determine the best legal strategy for moving forward. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.