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U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater Announces Grants of $47.3 Million to Increase Seat Belt Use

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Rodney E. Slater

U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater Announces Grants of $47.3 Million to Increase Seat Belt Use

NHTSA
October 31, 2000

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NHTSA 46-00
Tuesday, October 31, 2000
Contact: NHTSA, Tim Hurd, (202) 366-9550

U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater today announced that 36 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico will share $47.3 million in incentive grants for increasing seat belt use.

"Seat belts are the first line of defense against injuries and fatalities in a crash," President Clinton said. "These grants will help save lives by giving states an additional incentive to promote seat belt use."

Fiscal year 2001 is the third year that incentive grants have been awarded for increasing seat belt use rates. This year grants were awarded to states that have either obtained a state seat belt usage rate above the national average for 1998 and 1999 or that have achieved a usage rate in 1999 that is higher than the state had in any year from 1996 through 1998.

The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA 21), which President Clinton signed into law on June 9, 1998, authorized the grants. The Act provides more than $1.2 billion in incentive grants to increase seat belt use and prevent drunk driving - $500 million in over five years to increase seat belt use and another $700 million over six years for states to enact and enforce tough laws to prevent alcohol-impaired driving.

"Seat belts save thousands of lives each year and could save thousands more lives if everyone buckled up," Secretary Slater said. "These grants underscore the Department's commitment to safety, which is President Clinton's and Vice President Gore's highest transportation priority."

The amount of each state grant is based on savings in medical costs to the federal government from increased seat belt use. The award amounts range from $18,800 to $15.8 million.

Fourteen states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico exceeded the national average use rate in 1998 and 1999. Twenty-two states qualified by increasing their 1999 seat belt use rate above their highest previous use rate since 1996.

Funds provided as seat belt use incentive grants support a variety of state programs ranging from encouraging seat belt use and special traffic enforcement programs to highway construction activities.

The following table lists the states receiving grants and their grant amounts. The 14 states that exceeded the national average use rate in both 1998 and 1999 are marked with an asterisk. Four states will receive Section 157 incentive awards for the first time in FY 2001. They are Alabama, Kentucky, Rhode Island and Tennessee.

Seat Belt (Section 157) Incentive Grants for Fiscal Year 2001

State

Medical
Cost Savings

Alabama $ 454,900
Alaska $ 32,900
Arizona $1,242,500
Arkansas $ 407,000
California* $15,841,300
Connecticut* $ 369,500
Delaware $ 42,200
Dist of Columbia* $ 175,000
Georgia* $1,394,900
Hawaii* $230,200
Idaho $ 18,800
Illinois $ 663,400
Iowa* $ 898,800
Kansas $ 457,500
Kentucky $ 521,100
Louisiana $ 260,700
Maryland* $2,620,900
Michigan $ 74,300
Minnesota $1,034,700
Montana* $ 122,300
Nebraska $ 213,200
Nevada* $780,800
New Jersey $ 108,600
New Mexico* $1,351,500
New York* $3,853,000
North Carolina* $3,258,200
Ohio $1,072,600
Oklahoma $ 85,900
Oregon* $1,108,400
Pennsylvania $ 705,000
Rhode Island $ 212,900
South Carolina $ 57,300
Tennessee $ 197,300
Texas* $3,739,500
Utah $ 49,300
Washington* $2,803,600
Wisconsin $ 564,100
Puerto Rico* $ 320,100
TOTAL GRANTS $47,344,200

* States with asterisk exceeded the national average use rate in both 1998 and 1999.

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