Clallam country’s top seat belt clickers

PORT ANGELES — Of all the counties surveyed in all the states, Clallam has the highest number of people using seat belts.

Statewide, about 96.3 percent of drivers buckle up, according to a Washington Traffic Safety Commission study released last month.

That is the highest seat belt use rate ever reported by a state, the report concluded.

And at the top of the list is Clallam County, scoring a nearly perfect score of 98.92 percent.

Jefferson County was not included in the 18-county study, which used retired law enforcement officers to observe traffic on roads across the state.

Trooper Brian George, a spokesman for the Washington State Patrol, said that part of the reason for local motorists insisting on buckling up is because of high-profile fatal crashes on U.S. Highway 101, the county’s single link to the rest of the state.

“People can see the real life impact,” George said.

Clallam County Sheriff Joe Martin said the high rate showed local drivers were taking their safety seriously.

“It’s rare that we see an accident where the people were not wearing a seat belt,” Martin said.

“That helps a lot.”

The national average of seat belt use was 79 percent.

The study’s authors wrote that the goal of the survey was to find a statistically valid number for statewide use.

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