Seatbelt Usage in Maryland
In 2012, Maryland had a rate of 91 percent for seatbelt use, compared to the US rate of 86 percent. The state has had a law for seatbelt use in effect since July 1986. It became a primary enforcement state in October 1997 and a secondary enforcement state for rear seatbelt use.
What this means for people driving in Maryland is that a police officer can stop someone and give them a ticket for not wearing a seatbelt in the front seat. If they stop someone for another traffic violation, they can ticket a person not wearing a seatbelt in the rear seat. This law applies to anyone aged 16 and up and comes with a minimum fine of $50.
The state also has a law regarding child safety seats. It requires children who are age seven and younger to be placed in a restraint seat. Children age eight to 15 may use the seatbelt.
Maryland is one of the few states to have seen a slight decline in the use of seatbelts. In 2007, the rate was 93.1 percent, which has fluctuated up and down slightly. In 2013, the rate was 90.7 percent, and in 2014, it was 92.1 percent. Both numbers are below those of 2007. The highest rate came in 2010 with 94.7 percent.
Maryland is part of the South region, which has the second highest rate of seatbelt use, right behind the West. The regional average is 89.2 percent, slightly above the Northeast and well above the Midwest. Maryland also has a slightly lower traffic fatality rate than the national average. The state’s rate is 8.5 per 100,000 population as compared to the US average of 10.9. This evidence seems to confirm the need for seatbelts to reduce the likelihood of death in a car collision, which studies continue to show.