Massachusetts is dead last in seat-belt use

Seat belts were used in a record 83 percent of car trips last year, according to estimates by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. But seat-belt use actually declined in Massachusetts by 1.9 points to 66.8 percent, putting us dead last, reports the Boston Globe.

The map below (click to make bigger) shows that we're in odd company. The Northeast in general has high seat-belt use, but Massachusetts and two neighbors (New Hampshire and Rhode Island) are more like Wyoming and Mississippi when it comes to reckless driving and riding. As the Globe story mentions, Massachusetts is not among the 28 states where police can stop drivers or riders for not wearing a seat belt.

Another outlier is Rhode Island, where seat belt use supposedly dropped by 7.1 percent. There was no decrease of more than 4 percent in any other state.