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Buckled up? Seatbelt compliance rises

UNDATED (WRN)   Seat belt use is on the rise in Wisconsin, according to a report from the state Department of Transportation. Major Sandra Huxtable with the State Patrol’s traffic safety bureau says compliance rates show 83 percent of motorists are buckling up behind the wheel.

The numbers have risen slowly, but steadily, since the state enacted a mandatory seat belt law in 1987. However, Huxtable says Wisconsin’s compliance rate is still below the national average of 86 percent, and the 90 percent rate in other Midwestern states.

The biggest hold outs for wearing their seat belt are young men between the ages of 16 and 30, many of which drive pickup trucks. Huxtable says those larger vehicles can provide some protection in a crash, but they still will not stop a person from being ejected from a vehicle if they are not wearing a seat belt.

Officials are considering measures that could help to boost compliance with the law. Among those possible solutions is raising the fine for those who fail to wear their seat belt. Huxtable says Wisconsin’s current $10 ticket is one of the weakest penalties in the nation for safety belt violations.