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Good news and bad for ND in seatbelt study

Congratulation North Dakota drivers. It seems we are getting better about buckling up. The bad news is we still rank near the bottom among all 50 states when it comes to using seatbelts.

According to a study done by QuoteWizard, a lendingtree company, North Dakota ranked #1 for the highest increase in seatbelt useage, a 139% gain from 2000 to 2017. Despite North Dakota showing the largest increase in seat belt usage, it also has the 7th lowest seat belt useage rate in the country, 49.5 percent.

So, we were terrible, we are getting better but we still have work to do.

Researchers reminded us that using a seat belt is one of the easiest ways to prevent serious injuries or death in a car accident. Laws may differ from state to state, but the result of using a seat belt is the same: it reduces crash-related death and injuries by half.

The report said more than 50% of teens and adults who died in crashes in 2016 were not buckled up at the time of the accident. Just think of how many other lives were affected by that statistic. Friends and family not involved in those fatal crashes are “victims” too. And their hurting goes on.

While N.D. can lay claim to “most improved” it’s far from the most compliant state. But not the worst either. That “honor” goes to Massachusetts where just 44.8 percent buckle up. To be fair, Massachusetts was also one of the most improved states so we have serious competition in Massachusetts.

In a related survey of the same time frame, Oregon, Wyoming, California, Maryland, North Dakota and Maine were the only states that saw increases in drunk driving fatalities. But that is a discussion for another day.

Buckle up North Dakota.

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