Wearing a seatbelt is mandatory in Massachusetts, but compliance with the law is far lower than the national average. What's worse, the U.S. Department of Transportation says compliance with the state's seatbelt law has declined.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says, "The nationwide seat belt use rate was 91.6 percent in 2022 as measured by NHTSA's Occupant Protection Use Survey."

Seatbelt use in the Bay State was just 77.0 percent in 2022, down from 77.5 percent in 2021.

WBSM-AM/AM 1420 logo
Get our free mobile app

As recently as 2018 and 2019, 81.6 percent of Massachusetts residents said they buckled up while in the car, a dramatic improvement from 2017 when only 73.7 percent used their seatbelts.

The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles says, "Massachusetts law requires every person in a passenger motor vehicle (including vans and small trucks under 18,000 pounds) to wear a safety belt or sit in a child passenger restraint."

Massachusetts RMV: Excuses For Not Buckling Up Are "Myths"
Courtesy Westport Police

A driver and any passenger 16 or older not wearing a safety belt can receive a $25 fine. There are additional requirements and several exceptions to the law on the RMV's webpage.

There are many excuses for not wearing safety belts, including a fear of being trapped inside the car by the seatbelt in a crash or if the vehicle becomes submerged.

The RMV says, "Cars don't catch fire or sink in water very often."

"If it does happen, wearing a safety belt helps you not hit your head and lose consciousness," the RMV states. "If you stay conscious, you can undo your safety belt and get out" in seconds.

Other common excuses for not wearing a safety belt include a belief that airbags or a drive of a short duration makes safety belts unnecessary. The RMV calls these excuses "myths" and points out that "most motor vehicle crashes happen less than 25 miles from home."

See the Must-Drive Roads in Every State

Gallery Credit: Sarah Jones

LOOK: The longest highways in America

Stacker compiled a list of the longest interstates in the United States using 2021 data from the Federal Highway Administration. Read on to find out which ones are the lengthiest.

Gallery Credit: Hannah Lang

More From WBSM-AM/AM 1420