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Seat Belt Usage Up in Missouri & Illinois

By AP/KWMU

Washington, DC – Americans are buckling up more. The government says seat belt use rates have increased in 37 states this year, including Missouri and Illinois.

Arizona and Hawaii, have achieved rates of more than 95%, the highest ever reported to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. Mississippi is at the other end of the scale, only 63%, but even that rate was in increase over 2003.

The national seat belt use rate is at an all-time high of 80%. In Missouri, it's at 76%; in Illinois, the rate is 83%.

Officials say seat belt ad campaigns combined with police enforcement have helped boost the numbers. Twenty-two states also have primary seat belt laws. Most of the rest have secondary seat belt laws, which allow police to issue a seat belt ticket only to a driver stopped for another violation.

Seat Belt Usage
20032004% Change
Missouri72.9%75.9%+ 4.1%
Illinois80.1%83.0%+ 3.6%
Nationwide79%80%+1.3%

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