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Statement of Ricardo Martinez, M.D. Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Chrysler Cirrus, Dodge Stratus, Ricardo Martinez

Statement of Ricardo Martinez, M.D. Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

NHTSA
February 4, 1998

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NHTSA 6-98
Wednesday, February 4, 1998
Contact: Michael Russell
Tel. No. (202) 366-9550

Re: U.S. District Court decision
1995 Chrysler Cirrus, Dodge Stratus Rear Seat Belt Anchorages
February 4, 1998

We are pleased that the court's decision has reaffirmed our ability to enforce critical safety standards that protect the American people. Safety continues to be our first priority.

Our seat belt anchorage standard and the testing mechanism at issue in this case are intended to ensure that the anchorages adequately protect real passengers in real crashes--not just crash dummies in controlled situations.

This is a highly significant issue. Seat belts are the single most important life-saving device in a motor vehicle. This decision is particularly critical now, with our emphasis on children under the age of 12 riding in the back seat, where this particular failure occurred.

Beginning in May, 1995, Chrysler strengthened the anchorages for the rear seat belts of model year 1995 Chrysler Cirrus and Dodge Stratus vehicles. Approximately 91,000 cars built before that date will be recalled under the court's order.

We are gratified that Chrysler must take preventive action to makes these vehicles safer.



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