State officials announced earlier this month that the seatbelt usage in the state has climbed to 86-percent. The youngest drivers in the state face the possible loss of their license for a seatbelt or other violation under the graduate drivers license system — but state officials says they aren’t sure how much impact that has had on seatbelt usage. Michael Laski, the director of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau says there’s likely some connection, as the system has made young drivers safer overall.He says when the graduate license started in 1999, the prior year there were six-thousand-206 crashes involving 16-year-old drivers, but by 2002 there were only about four-thousand-588 crashes. That’s a drop of 26 percent. Laski says there are other indicators of safer driving among young people. He says during the same period, the traffic violations went from 13-thousand-700 to around 87-hundred. Laski says the graduated drivers license creates consequences for young drivers. He says they can be called in to the D-O-T after a crash or a ticket, depending on the severity. He says when they’re call into the D-O-T they have to bring their parents with them. Laski says a young driver can lose their license in these situation and have to start from scratch. He says they don’t have a way though to directly track how the tougher standards have impacted seatbelt use.
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