Fewer than one in six Idaho residents were buckling up when the state seat belt law was enacted in 1986. Now about half wear a seat belt when driving or riding in a vehicle.
The Idaho Transportation Department’s Office of Highway Safety conducted observation surveys in 22 cities in December. They found that 55 percent of drivers and front-seat passengers in cars used seat belts and 53 percent used them in vans and sport utility vehicles.
Only 37 percent of pickup truck drivers and passengers used seat belts. But the Transportation Department said use was up from a December 1995 survey everywhere except south-central Idaho.
North Idaho - including Coeur d’Alene, Post Falls and Sandpoint - posted the highest average at 62 percent. And despite some improvement, southeastern Idaho still had the lowest figure at 34 percent. Cities checked in that region were Pocatello, Blackfoot, Soda Springs and Preston.
Individually, the cities of Boise, Meridian, Coeur d’Alene, Post Falls and Moscow all had rates of at least 60 percent use. Sandpoint was the highest at 64 percent.
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