Rural Virginia Lags in Seat Belt Usage

February 24, 2013

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) - Statewide surveys show that motorists and passengers in rural Virginia are less likely to wear seat belts than those in other parts of the state.

An analysis of state data by The Roanoke Times shows that they also are more at risk of dying in traffic accidents.

The newspaper reports that eight people died unbelted and three died belted in Floyd County from 2007 to 2012. In Alleghany County, 10 people died unbelted and seven died belted. Bedford County saw 32 unbelted traffic deaths and 28 belted fatalities.

Surveys show that 76 percent of travelers in rural Virginia used seat belts in 2011, compared to 82 percent statewide.

Virginia Highway Safety Office director John Saunders says it's unacceptable that people are dying because they don't buckle up.

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