According to new data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, seatbelt use rates declined in 2020. Federal authorities are concerned that these low rates could continue through 2021 as well.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that there were 38,680 deaths in traffic accidents recorded across the country in 2020. Almost fifty percent of them involved motorists or passengers who were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident. Seatbelt use was found generally lower in rural as compared to urban areas. The lack of seatbelt use in rural areas also meant a higher percentage of serious accidents or deaths from car accidents.
2020 was an extremely unusual year in terms of traffic safety. Traffic volumes dropped significantly, especially between March and July, typically some of the busiest as well as some of the riskier months of the year. However, even as traffic volumes dropped and transportation safety authorities believed that accident rates would also correspondingly drop, the very opposite happened. The emptier streets only led to an increase in dangerous driving behaviors, including speeding and drunk driving.