Things I Didn’t Know
A new and occasional series of traffic facts that were novel to me.
I was in lovely Savannah, Georgia, yesterday at a AAA safety conference. I heard many interesting things (and managed to sneak out for some quick BBQ at Wall’s, a great place hidden in a house in an alley that I hadn’t been to in years and was worried may have closed in the intervening time).
One random fact I heard that was new to me was that Massachusetts has the lowest seat-belt wearing rate in the country. Somehow I had imagined some Western state (or maybe Alaska) would take top crown, not a relatively wealthy state with a concentration of high-tech and academia. Of course, the irony here is that Massachusetts, per mile, has the lowest fatality rate in the country — a fact that surely has to do with density (not so many chances to get in trouble, and lots of nearby trauma centers).
I’m not sure whether this is some expression of Emersonian self-reliance (neighboring New Hampshire is, of course, famously resistant to safety laws — “Live Free And/Or Die” is how someone put it). The reality, though, is that this non-seat-belt-wearing is actually not so self-reliant; this study shows the medical burden the state assumes in treating the unbelted occupants of cars in crashes. They also note, “Additionally, research has shown that the costs of unbelted injuries are 25% higher than belted injuries, and unbelted occupants are more likely to be Medicaid patients.”
This entry was posted on Friday, March 6th, 2009 at 10:21 am and is filed under Things I Didn't Know, Traffic safety. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.