Washington State Ranks No. 1 in Seat Belt Usage
Many drivers are buckling up these days. A new federal survey suggests that Washington State has the highest rate of seat belt use in the country. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ranked Washington at 97.5 percent seat belt usage in 2011. The national average was 84 percent. The lowest was Massachusetts at 73.2 percent of usage. Robert Calkins, spokesman from the the Washington State Patrol says it is the seventh year in a row Washington has scored 95 percent or higher. The survey also found that western states in general have higher seat belt usage than other regions of the country. All western states combined had 93 percent seat belt usage, compared with 80 percent in the Northeast, 83 percent in the Midwest and 80 percent in the South. Last year, the rate in Yakima County was near 98 percent.