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Why should Arizona enforce seat belt laws?

Nationwide statistics show that vehicular accidents are leading causes of death due to injury. Many deaths due to car accidents happen because the victim was not wearing a seat belt. According to reports, a death due to not wearing a seatbelt occurs every hour in America.

Although seat belts are one of the most effective safety devices available, only 68 percent of drivers and passengers wear them. Every parent should set an example for his or her children by a wearing seat belt and driving responsibly. Reports reveal that individuals between 16 and 25 years of age are least likely to buckle up, in spite of being the riskiest drivers who often indulge in drunk driving and speeding. Only tougher seat belt laws and high visibility enforcement campaigns can prompt all drivers to wear seat belts.

Most states do not provide for a comprehensive state law to enforce the use of seat belts in all situations. Many states have loopholes in their laws that allow people of certain age groups to escape from wearing seat belts while in certain seating positions. Overwhelming support has been expressed publicly for enacting laws that allow police to stop a car and ticket anyone inside who is not wearing a seat belt.

High-visibility enforcement campaigns can induce part-time and non-seat belt users to wear seat belts because the fear of citations and heavy fines can be more effective than the fear of dying. State laws should require children of all ages to ride in age and size-appropriate child safety seats.

The cost of death and injuries resulting from auto accidents is not only borne by the victim and his or her family members, but also by society at large. Every citizen of the country pays for these losses with higher taxes, healthcare and insurance costs. Medical expenses for an unbelted victim of a car crash are significantly higher and the lion's share of the cost is often borne by American taxpayers. Therefore, it is in the interest of every Arizona resident to follow the law and wear a seat belt every time he or she rides in a vehicle in order to reduce traffic-related injuries and deaths.

Source: Arizona Department of Public Safety, "Seat Belt Safety," accessed Dec. 23, 2014

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