BY: Citizens Count
New Hampshire is still the only state the nation that does not require adults to wear seat belts in motor vehicles.
There are no current proposals to make seat belts mandatory in the Granite State. Still, some safety advocates believe New Hampshire drivers and passengers would benefit from a seat belt law.
A 2016 study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that states with primary enforcement seat belt laws - meaning police can pull over drivers for not wearing a seat belt, without the presence of another offense - have higher seat belt use among adults, while other research shows that fatality rates decline by an average of 21% after states enact primary seat belt laws.
In addition to saving lives, advocates of a primary seat belt law in the Granite State argue the move would save money through reduced expenditures on medical costs related to car accidents.
New Hampshire currently has the lowest percentage of seat belt use among adults in the United States, at 70%. The national average is 89%.
Opponents of a mandatory seat belt law argue that the choice to wear a seat belt is a matter of personal liberty. After all, if someone chooses not to wear a seat belt, they are not hurting anyone but themselves.
Other opponents express concern that seat belt laws may be disproportionately enforced against people of color. A 2014 study from the American Civil Liberties Union found that police in Florida stopped black drivers nearly twice as often as white drivers for seat belt violations.
Do you think New Hampshire should require adults to wear seat belts? Share your opinion in the comments below. A summary of this discussion will be sent to elected officials and other policy makers, and will be added to our coverage of this issue. Only responses from NH residents will be counted. Please indicate if you are a NH resident in your response.