North Carolina, once a leader in seat belt use, saw vehicle restraint usage drop statewide last year while South Carolina drivers and passengers buckled up more often. And, during a visit yesterday to Walhalla, Leroy Smith, director of the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, proudly said South Carolina’s rate rose from 86% in 2011 to 90.5% in 2012. Smith was accompanied to Walhalla by Col. Michael Oliver, deputy director of the highway patrol. According to the Motor Club AAA, seat belt usage rates are provided by the National Occupant Protection Use Survey—the only nationwide probability-based observation survey of seat belt use in the country. If you’re caught driving in South Carolina not wearing a seat belt, you could be handed a citation charging $25 dollars.