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(WASHINGTON) — Seatbelt use in the U.S. has reached an all time high, according to a new report released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA.

Through an annual survey, the organization found that 86 percent of Americans use a seat belt when driving a car, a 2 percent increase over the previous year. Researchers also found that seat belt use has been on a consistent incline since 1994, which corresponds with a steady decrease in unrestrained vehicle passenger fatalities in the daytime.

“When it comes to driving safely, one of the most effective ways to protect yourself and your family is to use a seat belt,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

Officials attribute the trend to the passage of primary seat belt laws in certain states, where authorities can issue tickets solely based on those not wearing a seat belt. A total of 32 states and the District of Columbia have passed primary laws requiring seat belt use.

There have also been rising efforts in seat belt use awareness, such as the “Click It or Ticket” initiative, a national campaign dedicated to heighten awareness among young people to wear a seat belt when in the car.

“We’ve made steady gains in belt use in recent years,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. “Moving forward, it will be critical to build on this success using a multi-faceted approach that combines good laws, effective enforcement, and public education and awareness.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


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