The Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association (MHA), on behalf of its member hospitals, health systems, physician organizations, and allied healthcare providers, appreciates this opportunity to testify in support of Section 21 of SB7 which would enforce a primary seat belt law in Massachusetts.
Studies have indicated that safety belts are the single most effective safety device in preventing serious injury and death in motor vehicle crashes. When used properly, safety belts reduce the risk of fatal injury to front seat passengers by 45 percent and the risk of moderate-to-severe injury by 50 percent.1 The introduction of primary seat belt laws has been shown to increase use by up to 10-15 percent in the year following implementation.2
Section 21 of SB7 removes the stipulation under current Massachusetts law that seat belt use can only be enforced when an operator of a motor vehicle has been stopped by law enforcement for a moving violation or another offense.
MHA supports primary enforcement for safety belt non-compliance because it will improve the health of Massachusetts residents and prevent serious injuries. Additionally, the prevention of such injuries will result in savings related to healthcare costs, property damage, and workers compensation. Due to the clear beneficial effect that primary enforcement will have on the health and welfare of the citizens of the commonwealth, MHA respectfully requests that the committee support Section 21 of SB7.
Thank you for the opportunity to offer comments on this most important matter. If you have any questions or concerns or require further information, please contact Michael Sroczynski, MHA’s Senior Vice-President of Government Advocacy at (781) 262-6055 or email@example.com