NewsRadio 920 WHJJ and the Associated Press

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The Department of Transportation says a record number of drivers in Rhode Island are wearing their seat belts.

The department said a December study found that 86 percent of drivers are wearing safety belts, up from 78 percent last year. The study, conducted by a Connecticut firm, observed 10,484 drivers and passengers at 124 sites around the state.

RIDOT Director Michael Lewis called the increase in seat belt use encouraging. He says he knows firsthand that seat belts save lives, because he survived a rollover crash.

State officials say the number of people not wearing seat belts who were killed in crashes has decreased by 50 percent in the last five years.

Photo Credit:Shutterstock/Stephen B. Goodwin