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Seat Belt Laws and Accidents in Rhode Island

2011 was an important year for the state of Rhode Island in their continued quest to reduce traffic fatalities on their roadways. It was during that year that their state legislature enacted a primary seat belt law. The law went into effect in June of that year, and mandated an $85.00 for all offenders caught without wearing their seat belt. When Rhode Island lawmakers renewed the law in 2013, they increased the fine to $85 per vehicle occupant. Has this law helped the traffic fatalities in this state? This article will examine the positive impact this law has had on motorists in the Ocean State.

supreme-courtRI seat belt law

To start with, Rhode Island immediately went from 45th to 25th in the nation in seat belt usage. Rhode Island has also seen some results in other ways as well. First of all, traffic fatalities in this state have been on a steady decline since this law was passed, as noted in In 2015, 45 Rhode Island residents passed away in a car crash. This is a significant drop from 2010, when 67 individuals perished on a Rhode Island roadway.

Part of the reason for this drop has a lot to do with the increased patrols of Rhode Island state troopers and their continual “Click it or Ticket” drive to enforce seat belt laws within their state. Although the drive only happens a couple of times a year, it reminds motorists of the importance of wearing their seat belt. There is a big difference between being mortally injured in a car accident and being able to walk away without a scratch because of seat belt use.

Coupled with this increased awareness of seat belt use is increased funding to police departments in order to conduct increased research. Police officials are constantly learning about the best way to continue to improve motorist protection. They realize that there will always be incredible dangers on the roadway, including the potential of impaired drivers and distracted motorists. It doesn’t matter how cautious a driver you are, if someone else is negligent you could still possibly get hurt if they cause an accident with you.

Police department evaluate a number of different data tables in order to determine if their seat belt enforcement campaigns are working. First of all there is the seat belt use survey, the number of citations issued, and fatalities from lack of seatbelt use all play a role in the amount of grants a department might receive. Either way, the law enforcement personnel of Rhode Island are dedicated to keeping all motorists safe.