In 2016 three New England states ranked lowest for seat belt use according to a chart tweeted by the Massachusetts Highway Safety Division this week.
New Hampshire ranked last (70.2 percent), Massachusetts ranked 46th (78.2 percent), and Vermont ranked 44th (80 percent) on a comparison of 2016 seat belt usage based on surveys conducted by all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia.
What they didn’t share was that these same three New England states also have some of the lowest fatality rates from motor vehicle accidents in the nation.
Massachusetts has the fewest fatal accidents both per 100,000 of the population and per million vehicle miles traveled. Both Vermont and New Hampshire rank in the top ten safest in these categories with New Hampshire, which has no seat belt law for those 18 years old and up, consistently ranking in the top 5 for lowest fatalities.
I’m not saying you don’t need to wear a seatbelt. I always wear mine. I make my kids wear one. And there is a long list of other factors involved in motor vehicle accidents and deaths (including wearing a seat belt). But the arguments that seat belts save lives aren’t serviced by a tweet harping on a lack of compliance from a state that consistently ranks best in the nation for the least number of fatalities.
— MAHighwaySafety (@MAHighwaySafety) May 24, 2017