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SECRETARY SLATER, GOVERNOR ROMER ANNOUNCE SIGNIFICANT JUMP IN COLORADO'S SAFETY BELT USAGE

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Rodney E. Slater

SECRETARY SLATER, GOVERNOR ROMER ANNOUNCE SIGNIFICANT JUMP IN COLORADO'S SAFETY BELT USAGE

NHTSA
September 29, 1998

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NHTSA 65-98
Wednesday September 29, 1998
Contact: Tim Hurd
Tel. No. (202) 366-9550

U. S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater today joined Colorado Governor Roy Romer in reporting a state-wide safety belt usage rate of 66 percent, an increase of six percentage points from last year, following an aggressive statewide effort including enforcement and an intensive public information campaign.

"Safety is President Clinton's highest transportation priority," Secretary Slater said. "Our national strategy for increasing seat belt use can point to Colorado as a fine example of encouraging people to use their seat belts -- the most effective life-saving device in a motor vehicle."

In May 1997 the Colorado Department of Transportation, with funding from the department's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Air Bag and Seat Belt Safety Campaign, began its award-winning campaign called "Do the Twist, It's the Law."

Seat belt usage from 1990 through 1996 had shown little improvement. However, now a study just completed by Colorado State University (CSU) shows that occupant restraint usage in the state has increased significantly since the beginning of the campaign.

* Seat belt use for all ages (in all vehicles) is now at 66 percent, up from 55.6 percent in 1996 and 59.9 percent in 1997;
* For cars, vans and sport utility vehicles, usage is even higher, 71.2 percent, up from 61.5 percent; and
* Usage in pickup trucks is at 50.8 percent, up from 39.5 percent in 1996.

Secretary Slater made special note of the increase in safety seat use for children from birth to 3 years old: the survey shows 89 percent use, a big increase from the 71 percent observed in 1996 before the campaign began.

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