A recent survey by the Department of Public Safety's Ohio Traffic Safety Office showed the state seat belt compliance rate is at the lowest in nearly two decades. To get more drivers to buckle-up officers are reminding drivers about how important it is to wear a seat belt. 

“It's not about issuing somebody a ticket, it's about saving lives,” Lieutenant Daniel Morrison from the Ohio State Highway Patrol said. 

In the survey by OTSO results showed that Ohio is below the national seat belt use rate of 91.6%. It also showed that seatbelts are worn the least on local roads and that people who drive trucks.

“Those types of vehicles think that they're not going to get hurt in crashes but the statistics state otherwise,” Lt. Morrison said adding that younger drivers tend to not wear seatbelts a lot either. 

In Ohio during 2022, there were 527 people killed in crashes where a seat belt could have been used but wasn’t. That was the third consecutive year that Ohio's unbelted fatality rate was above 60%.

“Having a car is a privilege not something that they owe you. You gotta have insurance and you gotta have a seat belt,” Wilbert Torres from Youngstown said. 

Officers can only pull over someone not wearing their seatbelt if they have committed another offense like speeding or running a red light. The penalty if caught not wearing a seatbelt is a $30 fine plus $20 for every passenger in the car not wearing one.