Report Says Seat Belt Use Higher In NC

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says more North Carolinians than ever are buckling up for safety.

The agency reports that North Carolina's seat belt usage increased nearly 2 percent in 2006 to an unprecedented 88 and a half percent. Just 86-point-7 percent of North Carolinians observed in the same survey in 2005 used seat belts.

Nationally, seat belt use for 2006 dipped to 81 percent from 2005's 82 percent. In the West, belt use climbed from 85 percent to 90 percent. In the South, it rose from 82 percent to 83 percent.

However, in the Northeast, belt use fell to 74 percent, down from 78 percent; and in the Midwest it dropped to 77 percent from 79 percent.

The spokeswoman for the Governor's Highway Safety Program says the increase in North Carolina is because of the success of the "Click It or Ticket" program. Beth Horner says it's also the result of what she calls an "outstanding job" of law enforcement by local and state officers.