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Last week, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that traffic-related deaths had reached a record low. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that about 37,313 people were killed in auto accidents this past year. This represents the lowest number in nearly fifty years, and the lowest rate of fatalities per mile traveled ever recorded.

The NHTSA attributes these impressive numbers to increased seat belt use. States with primary seat belt laws, which permit law enforcement officers to pull over drivers for failure to wear a seat belt, tend to have the highest percentage of seat belt use. Michigan, a primary enforcement state, had the highest rate of seat belt use in the nation with over 97% compliance. Massachusetts had the lowest percentage, with just over two-thirds of drivers wearing their seat belts.

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