|What Dewey and her
organization are pushing for are standard enforcement seat belt
use laws in each of the 50 states. So far, only 13 states and
the District of Columbia have enacted such laws, which allow
police to stop motorists and write tickets for lack of seat belt
use in the same manner as they do for speeding or broken tail
"Adults who don't buckle up are sending children a
deadly message that it is all right not to wear a seat belt,"
says Dewey. "Children imitate adult behavior. Research shows
that if a driver is unbuckled, 70% of the time children riding
in that vehicle won't be buckled, either."
But, Dewey adds that if a driver is belted, there's a 94%
chance the children will be buckled too.
The campaign says the injuries and problems suffered by
unbelted passengers affect those people who are properly
restrained in their vehicles. "Those who wear belts are heavily
subsidizing those who don't - in higher taxes, higher health
care and higher insurance costs," says Chuck Hurley of
the National Safety Council.
A campaign to increase seat belt use was announced this
spring by President Clinton and police chiefs across the
country. The goal is to get more standard enforcement laws
passed by the seats and raise the national seat belt use
percentage to 85% by 2002.