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Tuesday, 30 January 2007 03:00

More Teens Buckling Up

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slide22More teenagers in California are buckling up according to a recent study.  Figures from the study indicate 90.8 percent of the state’s high school students use their seat belts when driving or riding in a vehicle. In the study conducted for the federal government by California State University, Fresno, 100 California High Schools were randomly sampled.  In addition to the 2.5 percent statewide increase in seat belt use from the previous year, the study found that females are more likely to buckle up than their male counterparts.  The high rate for 2006 was 99.8 percent for Alameda County. “There’s still a challenge ahead of us,” said CHP Commissioner Mike Brown.  “Despite the statewide increase of seat belt usage among teenagers, more work needs to be done to increase use among all Californians.”

slide24 Statistics show that traffic crashes are the number one killer of teenagers in the nation.  One key reason for the high death rate among teens is that they have lower safety belt use rates than adults.   “While we are happy that more teens are getting the message, more need to know that their future may depend on it,” said Christopher J. Murphy, director of the State Office of Traffic Safety. “It takes three seconds to put a seat belt on, but it could give you the rest of your life,” added Commissioner Brown. The combination of enforcement and education is the key to changing behavior.  The California Highway Patrol's Start Smart program is a driver safety education class which targets new and future licensed teenage drivers between the age of 15 - 19 and their parents/guardians. During the program CHP officers discuss traffic related issues.  For more information on collision avoidance techniques, collision causing factors, driver/parent responsibilities, and seatbelt usage visit the CHP’s website at

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