Safeco Praises Tougher Wash. Safety Belt Law

January 19, 2005

Safeco recently praised Washington state and local drivers for leading the way in safety belt use.

A national study released recently by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that stronger safety belt laws are saving lives in 21 states—including Washington—and if enacted nationwide, the measures could save an additional 700 lives per year. Safeco is a prominent sponsor of the IIHS and Safeco President Mike LaRocco is an active member of the IIHS board of directors.

In Washington, 23 lives have been saved since the state passed a “primary” safety belt law in 2002, the IIHS study found. The new law allows police officers to stop a motorist solely for not wearing a safety belt. Since Washington enacted the law, U.S. Department of Transportation estimates show that traffic fatalities have dropped 9 percent and Washington residents’ safety belt use has climbed to 94 percent.

“Washington state’s law has sent a clear message: If you’re in a car, buckle up,” LaRocco said. “The real credit goes to Washington state drivers who have taken the message to heart. Every year, more lives are saved. We hope all states will follow Washington’s lead.”

IIHS is a non-profit organization that conducts auto safety test programs, research and public education campaigns.

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