A study of insurance claims in eight states where motorists have been required to use safety belts provides "no clear-cut pattern" that belt-use laws have reduced auto accident injuries, says an insurance industry report.
The report by the Highway Loss Data Institute acknowledges that use of safety belts by motorists has reduced serious injuries and deaths in automobile accidents.But the report made public this week said the new study "found no clear-cut evidence of comparable reductions" in overall injuries as reflected by accident claims. "These results are disappointing," the report concluded.
The study examined accident claims submitted before and after seat belt laws went into effect in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan and Texas.
It said injury claims declined in Michigan and Connecticut after belt-use laws went into effect there. In New Jersey the number of injury claims remained stable even though overall collision claims increased as much as 11 percent.
But it said no discernible reduction in injury claims was found in the other five states and in three of them - Texas, Florida and Kansas - the number of injury claims increased 2 percent to 6 percent after belt-use laws were enforced.
According to the study, the sharpest increases in injury claims were found among claims of $1,000 or more. Those jumped 15 percent in Texas, 20 percent in Kansas, 8 percent in Maryland and as much as 7 percent in New York.