Virginia’s relies on good old-fashioned research. It hires students to count the people wearing seatbelts in vehicles.
OK, I know that I shouldn’t, but doesn’t this give me another excuse to post Eli Manning’s picture?
I know, I am probably the only person that sees humor in this. So, just bear with me. Pretend that it really does make the point that he is really watching and paying attention. What… not so much?
Anyway, PilotOnline reports that Virginia has hired surveyors to stand on the side of the road and look into cars, to see if people are wearing their seat belts. Those hired are trained to mentally capture about a half-dozen details in about 3 seconds, as cars pass by. Was the driver male or female? On a cellphone? Was the passenger wearing a seat belt?
All this is done to collect data all across Virginia, to help contribute to a constant collection of research on safety “in the Commonwealth”. The workers are paid through a grant with salary, or an average per hour pay of about $12-$15 dollars per hour, on a contract basis. Each survey lasts about an hour per location.
Currently, Virginia is one of seventeen states that classifies a “failure to wear a seat belt” as a secondary offense; which means that a person can only be ticketed for not wearing their belt, if they have another traffic violation as well.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated last year that there was a marked increase of Virginians wearing their seat belts. That translated into Virginia having about 36 fewer traffic deaths, 544 fewer serious injuries and $138 million less in costs.
According to the surveys, last year about 78.4% of daytime drivers were wearing seat belts. It found that male drivers buckled up at a rate of about 7% less than female drivers. However, as one surveyor put it, she has seen, “little, old grandmas driving to church” not wearing their seat belts while “hard-looking teenagers with their music blaring” are cautiously strapped in.
All of it is a reminder to wear our seat belts. Currently, there is also a move to change the law and make the failure to wear a seat belt, a stand-alone traffic offense.
And now for pic o’day… a bit self-explanatory: