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U.S. SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION RODNEY E. SLATER COMMENDS STATE OF NEW YORK FOR MEETING PRESIDENT CLINTON'S SEAT BELT GOAL OF 85 PERCENT

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Rodney E. Slater

U.S. SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION RODNEY E. SLATER COMMENDS STATE OF NEW YORK FOR MEETING PRESIDENT CLINTON'S SEAT BELT GOAL OF 85 PERCENT

NHTSA
April 17, 2000

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NHTSA 15-00
Monday, April 17, 2000
Contact: NHTSA, Kathie Klass, (202) 366-9550

ELMIRA, NEW YORK -- U.S. Secretary of Transportation Rodney E. Slater today commended the citizens of New York State for achieving President Clinton's goal of 85 percent seat belt use statewide and for setting a great example by increasing seat belt use to 90 percent.

"Safety is President Clinton's and Vice President Gore's highest transportation priority and we are proud of the people of New York for meeting our goal," said Secretary Slater. "Elmira is New York's shining star. In just 30 days, the community joined forces to increase seat belt use from 69 percent to 90 percent seat belt use. We need to work together to keep seat belt use at this historic high."

Secretary Slater presented public service awards to the leaders and organizations whose effort achieved 85 percent seat belt use statewide.

The award recipients included: New York State Police Superintendent James McMahon; New York State Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Richard E. Jackson, Jr.; Chemung County Sheriff Charles D. W. Houper; the City of Elmira Police Department; the West Elmira Police Department; The Village of Elmira Heights Police Department; the Village of Horseheads Police Department; the Towns of Southport Police Department; and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

In 1984, New York passed the first mandatory seat belt law in the nation. The "Buckle Up New York" comprehensive statewide campaign succeeded in increasing belt use from 76 percent to 85 percent. The coordinated campaign brought together community leaders from local law enforcement, as well as public and private sector partners, who aggressively enforced the law and promoted the use of seat belts.

Seat belts are the single most effective protection against death and serious injury in a motor vehicle crash, according to the Department's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The safety agency estimates that more than 112,000 lives were saved by seat belts from 1975 through 1998 -- more than 11,000 in 1998 alone.

Forty-nine states and the District of Columbia now have mandatory seat belt use laws.

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