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Sep/Oct 2013 Issue

Seat belt use lower at night when risk of serious crashes is greater

While seat beat use has reached a record high, drivers continue to be less attentive about safety at night with fewer clicking their belts when the sun goes down.

Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that while nationwide seat belt use has reached its highest level ever at 86 percent, usage is lower at night when the risk of being involved in a serious crash is greater. In 2011, 62 percent of motorists who died in a crash that occurred at night were unrestrained, compared to 43 percent of those who died in a crash during the day.

From 1975 through 2011, NHTSA estimates that seat belts saved the lives of 292,471 passenger vehicle occupants age 5 and older, including 11,949 lives saved in 2011. If all passenger vehicle occupants age 5 and older wore seat belts, an estimated 15,333 lives (that is, an additional 3,384) would have been saved in 2011.



Students invited to walk to school

In its 17th year, international Walk to School Day will be held on Oct. 9 to celebrate the many benefits of walking and bicycling to school.

During this global initiative, communities from more than 40 countries participate in local events, including 4,200 events across the United States last year. There were about 150 schools in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi that took part in 2012, including Lizana Elementary in Gulfport, Miss., which distributed pedometers to participants who logged nearly 1.7 million steps that day.

The day not only promotes physical activity, but it builds school spirit and a sense of community. According to the National Household Travel Survey, 48 percent of children in kindergarten to eighth grade walked or bicycled to school in 1969. By 2009, that figure had dropped to just 13 percent.

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