WASHINGTON, D.C. – Motorists in Hawaii, Washington state, and Nevada had the nation's highest rates of seatbelt use in 2005, a record year for seatbelt use nationwide, according to the Detroit News. Thirty-four states increased their seatbelt use this year, according to the government. The federal traffic safety agency had said in September that seatbelt use overall was a record 82 percent in 2005. Hawaii led the nation with 95.3 percent. Puerto Rico and seven other states – Arizona, California, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington – scored rates of 90 percent or better. Mississippi had the lowest rate in the nation with slightly better than 60 percent. It was followed by Massachusetts (64.8 percent), Kentucky (66.7 percent), Arkansas (68.3 percent), South Dakota (68.8 percent), and Kansas (69 percent). Safety belts are considered the best tool in avoiding traffic deaths and have been used in greater numbers in the past decade. About 58 percent of American motorists buckled up in 1994 and 71 percent wore the belts in 2000, reported the Detroit News. Department of Transportation officials estimate with 82 percent wearing their seatbelts, about 15,700 fatalities and 350,000 serious injuries are prevented every year. Primary seatbelt laws have passed in 22 states. Most other states have secondary laws, which allow police to issue a seatbelt violation only if a driver is stopped for another infraction. New Hampshire has no adult seat belt law.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials