(WWLP) – Ahead of the Memorial Day weekend, a reminder that one of the safest choices drivers and passengers can make is to buckle up.

A new report by The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration shows that in 2021, about half of traffic fatalities in the U.S. were due to the lack of seat belt use. This number the highest seen in a decade.

A study done by UMass also found seat belt usage among child passengers and teen occupants saw a large decrease in the last year, but teens still remain belted at a higher rate than adults.

Barbara Conlin of West Springfield tells 22News, “It’s such an easy thing to do, it takes a second of your time, and its saves your life.”

Here in the state, the rate of seatbelt use was at about 77 percent in 2021, one of the lowest in the country behind New Hampshire.