As part of a long feature article in the Metro West Daily News, Michael Knodler of our Civil and Environmental Engineering Department says Massachusetts is behind many other states in seat belt use, but the number of drivers who use them is still increasing each year. Dr. Knodler is the director of the UMass Traffic Safety Research Program, or UMassSafe, which has performed seat belt studies for the state for most of the past nine years. According to the article, 18 deaths and some 600 injuries could have been prevented in one year if victims had been wearing seatbelts when they crashed. Link to article: MetroWest Daily News.
Dr. Knodler was wrongly identified in the article as “Mark” Knodler.
"We are behind [in seatbelt use], but the number last year was the highest ever reported in Massachusetts," the article quoted Knodler.
The research at UMassSafe has noted many trends in Massachusetts. Men typically buckle up less than women, for example, while people in pickup trucks tend to use seat belts less than other vehicles, Knodler said. He also said he can see common misconceptions amid the numbers.
"The statistics show people are less likely to wear their belts on lower level, local roads than on the highways," Knodler says. "The majority of fatalities occur on roadways where the posted speed limit is less than 55." (June 2010)