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U.S. Transportation Secretary Slater Joins in Launching National Effort To Enforce Seat Belt, Child Seat Laws

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Rodney E. Slater

U.S. Transportation Secretary Slater Joins in Launching National Effort To Enforce Seat Belt, Child Seat Laws

NHTSA
November 22, 1999

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NHTSA 58-99
Monday, November 22, 1999
Contact: NHTSA, Cathy Hickey, (202) 366-9550

With the Thanksgiving weekend approaching, U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater today joined other national leaders in launching the Air Bag & Seat Belt Safety Campaign's fifth Operation ABC Mobilization, a nationwide effort to enforce child passenger and seat belt laws.

"Our partnership with the Mobilization and increased enforcement have helped put the nation within striking distance of the Clinton-Gore Administration's goal of decreasing child fatalities by 15 percent by the year 2000," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater. "Safety is our highest goal, and I applaud the work of law enforcement officers around the country who work to ensure that children nationwide are buckled up. We must protect our children, and using child safety seats is one sure way of doing just that."

According to the department's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Operation ABC (Always Buckle Up) Mobilization and other efforts to promote child passenger seat and seat belt use have been effective in reducing deaths and injuries on the nation's highways. Fatalities for children ages 0-4 have dropped by more than 12 percent in the two years since these law enforcement mobilizations began. This year's mobilization will be the largest ever, with more than 6,500 law enforcement agencies conducting highly visible activities to enforce child safety seat and seat belt laws.

According to NHTSA, all 50 states have laws requiring that children in passenger cars be restrained, yet one out of four children ride completely unbuckled, putting more than 15 million children at risk. A survey commissioned by the Air Bag & Seat Belt Safety Campaign found that many adults who regularly drive children admit they don't always make sure their child passengers are buckled up.

NHTSA research has shown that seat belts are the most effective safety device in a car in case of a crash. Among passenger vehicle occupants over four years old, seat belts saved an estimated 11,088 lives in 1998, and among children under five years old, an estimated 244 lives were saved in 1998 by child safety seats.

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