Seat belt use in States and territories with primary and secondary laws--United States, 2006

J Safety Res. 2009;40(6):469-72. doi: 10.1016/j.jsr.2009.09.004. Epub 2009 Oct 17.


Problem: Motor-vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death in the United States. In the event of a crash, seat belts are highly effective in preventing serious injury and death.

Methods: Data from the 2006 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System were used to calculate prevalence of seat belt use by state and territory and by type of state seat belt law (primary vs. secondary enforcement).

Results: In 2006, seat belt use among adults ranged from 58.3% to 91.9% in the states and territories. Seat belt use was 86.0% in states and territories with primary enforcement laws and 75.9% in states with secondary enforcement laws.

Discussion: Seat belt use continues to increase in the United States. Primary enforcement laws remain a more effective strategy than secondary enforcement laws in getting motor-vehicle occupants to wear their seat belts.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / mortality
  • Automobile Driving / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Humans
  • Seat Belts / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Seat Belts / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States
  • Wounds and Injuries / prevention & control