Highway traffic deaths increased last year, despite the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in fewer vehicles on the road. A report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) attributes the increase in deaths to drivers’ increasingly risky behavior, including not wearing seat belts. The data shows half the people who died in fatal crashes last year were not buckled in.

Seat belts have been standard equipment on cars and trucks for more than 50 years, and many states now have laws requiring occupants to use them. A national campaign among law enforcement agencies, known as “click it or ticket,” resulted in an increased number of citations last year.

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