When laws change, racial differences in buckling up disappear, study finds

Thursday, June 22, 2006—Despite increases in car seat belt use over the past few decades, black Americans are still less likely to buckle up than whites.

Now, a new study suggests that a simple change in ticketing laws could change that.

In states with laws that mandate that a driver can only be ticketed for not wearing seat belts if they’ve been stopped for another violation, black motorists are far less likely to buckle up, U.S. researchers found.

However, in states with “primary” seat belt laws -- meaning that a motorist can be pulled over and cited solely for not wearing a seat belt -- compliance rates for the law are equal between black and white motorists.

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