Ohio's annual observational seat belt survey has been released and it shows an alarming drop in compliance.

According to the study by the Department of Public Safety's Ohio Traffic Safety Office (OTSO), statewide seat belt compliance dropped from 84.1% in 2021 to 80.8% in 2022.

The 80.8% compliance rate is the lowest since 2005. Cuyahoga County had the lowest overall compliance at only 59%.

Last year, 527 people in Ohio were killed in car crashes where a seat belt wasn't in use. This was the third straight year that Ohio's unbelted fatality rate was above 60%.

The national seat belt use rate is 91.6%, more than 10% higher than in Ohio.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 11,813 unbuckled passengers were killed in crashes in 2021.

"We want seat belt use to be an automatic habit for drivers and passengers alike," said Emily Davidson, OTSO executive director. "Unrestrained deaths are completely preventable. Buckling up is the simplest thing you can do to limit injury or save your life during a crash."