Seatbelt Usage in the District of Columbia
It is only appropriate that the center of government, Washington DC, was one of the first to implement a seatbelt law in December 1985. However, it was not until October 1997 that DC became a primary enforcement state. This means that a person can be stopped just for failing to buckle up and receive a ticket of $50 or more for a first offense.
DC also has a child safety seat law, which requires children age seven and younger to be placed in a child safety seat. Failure to follow this law could result in a first-time offense with a fine of $75. Anyone age 16 and older must wear a seatbelt in any seat.
While the US average is 86 percent for the rate of occupants wearing seatbelts, DC is above this average at 92 percent. This area is part of the South region for recording statistics on seatbelt wearers. The south is in second place behind the west for the highest rate of usage.
Just like with much of the country, DC has shown improvement on the rate of people wearing seatbelts since 2007. In that year, the rate was at 87.1 percent, still above many other parts of the country. It has gone up to 93.2 percent in 2014, which is also well above many other states.
Nationwide, more people who drive in urban areas wear seatbelts than those in rural areas. In addition, foggy conditions will increase the number of people who buckle up while light precipitation doesn’t seem to have that impact. In fact, no more people wear seatbelts in that weather than in clear conditions. However, more people during rush hour traffic take the time to put on their seatbelts than during other hours of the weekday while weekend usage is also higher.