WASHINGTON (Feb. 18, 2004) — Citing safety as the tire industry's “number one priority,” the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) is supporting enactment of legislation in Ohio to mandate motorists and passengers buckle up their seat belts.
RMA Vice President Ann Wilson said the association “supports efforts that have a demonstrated effect on motorist safety. Without a doubt, increased seat belt usage saves lives.” The RMA said tire makers are joining its effort, and the group has written to the president of the Ohio Senate expressing its support for primary seat belt legislation.
Current Ohio law allows police to issue a ticket for failing to use a seat belt only if a vehicle is stopped for another offense. If enacted, the RMA said, State Bill 125 would permit police to cite individuals who are not complying with the seat belt law, as with any other traffic offense. According to the association, a study of primary seat belt laws in California, Georgia and Louisiana showed that compliance with seat belt law increased by 15 percent after those laws were enacted.
The RMA cited federal government estimates that if every state upgraded to primary seat belt enforcement, 1,733 lives would be saved, 46,025 injuries would be prevented and $2.9 billion would be saved annually.