Survey Shows Stalled Seat
August 15, 2007
(SitNews) - New statistics from the Alaska Highway Safety Office
show that seat belt usage in Alaska during 2007 has remained
largely static from the previous year.
In addition, while 92 percent of the motorcycle passengers wore
helmets, only 70 percent of drivers did so.
Cindy Cashen, administrator for the Alaska Highway Safety Office,
said the numbers are troubling in light of the fact that July
was a particularly deadly month on Alaska roadways.
"Seatbelts give us some chance of surviving a major traffic
collision and these figures show that too many Alaskans are putting
themselves at risk," said Cashen. "We had 18 motorist
deaths in July and in 12 of those deaths a seatbelt was not worn."
The results are from the 2007 National Occupant Protection Usage
Survey performed for DOT&PF by the Alaska Injury Prevention
Center. The information from the survey shows that seat belt
usage in Alaska has risen 34 percent from 2001 to 2007.
The 2007 survey shows that about 82.4 percent of Alaskans wear
their seatbelt. While that is a drop of 0.8 percentage point
from the 2006 level it is statistically within the survey margin
The survey was based on recorded observations of 32,200 vehicle
occupants on specific roads around Alaska.
The observations showed that generally seat belt usage was up
in Fairbanks, Juneau and the Matanuska Susitna Borough. The rate
of motorists using seatbelts in Anchorage remained largely unchanged,
but there was a significant decrease of seatbelt usage observed
in the Kenai-Soldotna area.
"One of the deadliest outcomes occurs when passengers get
ejected from the vehicle with most ejections coming from
failure to wear seat belts. People mistakenly believe they can
control their body movements during a crash but instead their
bodies become deadly weapons as they slam into others before
being ejected from the vehicle and into trees, buildings and
other immovable objects," Cashen said.
The 2007 survey shows:
- The Mat-Su Valley mini-van
drivers have the highest rate with 93.4 percent using their belts.
- Seventy-five percent of pickup
truck drivers were buckled up.
- Only 67.9 percent of Juneau
pickup truck drivers used seat belts.
- Interestingly, observations
showed that generally drivers were more likely to be belted in
than their passengers.
According to the National Highway
Transportation Safety Administration, pickup truck drivers and
passengers, particularly among young males, consistently have
the lowest seat belt usage rates of all motorists.
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