Seatbelt Usage in Kentucky
Kentucky enacted a seatbelt law in July 1994, but it did not become a primary enforcement state until July 2006. When a state has a primary enforcement law in place, it means that police officers can stop someone just for not wearing a seatbelt.
Anyone who is eight years old or up must wear a seatbelt regardless of whether they are in the front or rear seat. If they fail to follow this law, they may receive a $25 fine. Children age seven and younger must be kept in a child safety seat.
Kentucky is slightly below the US average for seatbelt use. The rate for the state is 84 percent as compared to 86 percent for the national average. The rate has gone up over the years by more than 13 percentage points. In 2007, the rate of wearers was 71.8 percent, which grew to 86.1 percent by 2014.
Part of the South Region, Kentucky’s group has the second highest rate for seatbelt wearing. It comes in behind the West. Nationally, more people in urban areas buckle up than those living in rural areas. Kentucky has more rural area than urban. The state also has a high traffic fatality rate well above the national average. The rate is 17.2 per 100,000 population for Kentucky as compared to 10.9 for the US.
Nationwide, more people buckle up in light fog than in light precipitation or clear weather. They also are more likely to wear seatbelts in heavy traffic or rush hour than in light traffic and in non-rush hour times during the week. The rate for wearing seatbelts is higher for people in passenger cars, SUVs and vans than in pickup trucks.
As the trend towards more people wearing seatbelts continues, it will also impact the fatality rate, causing it to decrease.