The Washington Traffic Safety Commission came out with its annual press release this week touting how great the state is about wearing seat belts. It was fourth in the nation this year at 97.6 percent, behind Michigan (98), Hawaii and Oregon. The nationwide average is 84 percent.
What intrigues me is who the 2.3 percent still holding out are.
Unlike we old people, who had to learn new tricks, anybody under, say, 45 years old has no excuse whatsoever. They’ve been in seat belts since the day they were born. Actually before they were born. It’s about as automatic as breathing. It was tougher on us oldsters, whose first cars didn’t even come with seat belts, which become mandatory until 1966.
Who are these 2.3 percent? Lazy? Drunk? Authority protesters? Then they need seat belts more than normal people.
Two percent doesn’tt sound like much, but Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste said troopers still write about 47,000 tickets a year for not buckling up.
“It appears that enforcement is the only way to win their compliance, and we will not hesitate to use that tool,” he said.
Fine by me. If it’s too much work for them, hit ‘em with a $142 ticket.
The Washington rate continues to improve, but it gets increasingly difficult the closer you get to 100 percent. It improved 1.2 percent from 2009, meaning one-third of those who hadn’t been buckling up decided to start.