Auto insurance

Guys aren’t so safe in their trucks

Wednesday, May 31, 2017by  Jon Osterberg

man driving pickup truck at sunsetMen who drive pickup trucks after dark in rural Washington are least likely to buckle up, especially if they're impaired.

That's according to the Whatcom County Traffic Safety Task Force manager and national research conducted by the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

A Bellingham Herald article notes the irony that female drivers are often the butt of jokes, yet it's men who are more likely to die from speeding, drunk driving, and not wearing a seat belt. Women do worse at just one aspect of unsafe driving: talking on the phone and texting while behind the wheel.

woman driver buckling her seatbeltAside from guys in their trucks, Northwest drivers earn high marks for seat-belt use. In 2014, Oregon had the nation's highest belt use rate at 98%, with Washington at 95%. South Dakota had the lowest (69%).

IIHS reports that nationally, observed belt use in 2015 was lowest in pickups (81%) compared with cars, vans, and SUVs (90%). Use was consistently lower at night than during the day.

How about future drivers? The Safety Restraint Coalition often hears parents ask, "When can my child ride in the car using just a seat belt, without a car seat or booster seat?" The answer: "When the adult seat belt fits properly."

A seat belt fits properly when you can answer "yes" to five questions:

  1. teddy bear wearing seatbelt.jpgDoes the child sit all the way back against the car's seat?
  2. Do the child's knees bend comfortably at the edge of the car's seat?
  3. Does the shoulder belt cross the center of the shoulder and chest?
  4. Does the lap belt fit low and snugly across the hips – touching the tops of the thighs – not over the abdomen?
  5. Can the child stay seated like that for the whole trip?

Parents, train your kids when they're young. Especially if they're boys who like trucks. 

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