A study funded by the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security discovered that the number of people in Massachusetts wearing seat belts increased from 67% in 2008 to 74% this year. State officials announced this finding yesterday. Massachusetts’ director of highway safety for the executive office cites enforcement efforts by police as well as education and media campaigns on seat belt usage for the increase among Massachusetts drivers and passengers.
Currently, Massachusetts law makes failure to wear a seat belt a secondary offense, meaning police officers can only issue a ticket for not wearing a seat belt after they pull over the driver for some other reason. The exception is if the officer sees a child under the age of 12 not strapped in.
However, some legislators are pushing for tougher seat belt laws that would allow officers to stop drivers simply for not wearing a seat belt. They cite the correlation between seat belt usage and lower risk of serious injury in a car accident as the reason for stricter seat belt legislation.