The Only State In the Nation That Doesn’t Have a Seat Belt Law

One of the most successful public health campaigns in U.S. history took the form of a nationwide decision to simply buckle our seat belts. Americans formed that habit primarily because every state in the country passed a law that made it mandatory……..every state, that is, except one. Meanwhile, New Hampshire lawmakers decided to sit this one out. While the state requires that drivers and passengers under the age of 18 wear seat belts, a law for adults over 18 never made it through the legislature. In 2009, the House of Representatives considered a seat belt law for adults over 18, but it was shot down. There’s no anti-seat belt lobby, and it’s hard to make the case that seat belts aren’t effective, but opponents argue that it’s not the government’s place to make you were a seat belt. In keeping with New Hampshire’s libertarian streak, plenty of residents prefer to defend their right to engage in reckless behavior. As a result of never having had one of these laws, fewer people wear their seat belt in New Hampshire than in any other state. The national average is 90%, while in New Hampshire it’s just 70%. Despite New Hampshire’s loose seat belt laws and correspondingly unbuckled drivers, the state's traffic fatality rate is actually below the national average.