U.S.: Millions don't buckle up
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood kicks off the Click It or Ticket campaign in Washington Monday. (By Manuel Balce Ceneta / Associated Press)
[This post has been updated]
The government says about 45 million Americans are not buckling up in their cars.
The Transportation Department released its estimate of seat belt use on Monday as it kicked off the annual "Click It or Ticket" campaign. The department says about 84 percent of motorists wear seat belts, an all-time high.
But Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says thousands of motorists are still dying each year because they don't buckle up. He says an average of 38 unbelted people a day are killed in motor vehicle crashes.
The "Click It or Ticket" campaign is running from May 24 through June 6. More than 10,000 police agencies will enforce seat belt laws. The message will be reinforced with $8 million in national advertising.
Police representatives from the District and Montgomery and Prince George's counties were among officials who joined LaHood at the kickoff.
The Buckle Up for a Buck program, which is in its third year, is run by the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration, the Maryland State Highway Administration's Highway Safety Office and the Prince George's County Police Department.
Among states, Michigan led the nation with 98 percent of its motorists buckling up, followed by Hawaii with 97.9 percent, Oregon with 96.6 percent and Washington state with 96.4 percent. Fifteen states and the District of Columbia had a seat belt use of 90 percent or better.
Wyoming had the lowest rate in the nation with 67.6 percent, followed by New Hampshire with 68.9 percent and South Dakota with 72.1 percent.
-- Staff and wire reports
The Post's Ashley Halsey III was there, so check back for more details. What do you think? Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or post a comment below.
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