CDC: People in Rural Areas Are Less Likely to Wear Seat Belts
According to a report issued late last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Americans who live in rural areas are three to 10 times more likely to die in motor vehicle crashes than those who live in urban areas. One contributing factor: Higher numbers of drivers and passengers who were not wearing seat belts at the time of the crash.
The report, part of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report Rural Health Series, also suggested that the more rural the area, the higher the death risk for adult drivers and passengers. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) and the CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) was used to create the report.
The percentage of drivers and passengers who were not buckled at the time of a fatal crash was 44.4 percent in the most urban U.S. counties and 61.3 percent in the most rural counties. Self-reported seat belt use was lower in rural counties, ranging from 74.7 percent in the most rural counties to 88.8 percent in the most urban counties. Seat belt use was significantly higher in states where law enforcement officers can ticket drivers or passengers for failure to wear seat belts (primary enforcement states).