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U.S. Transportation Secretary Slater Announces Plan For Improving Child Restraint Systems

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Rodney E. Slater

U.S. Transportation Secretary Slater Announces Plan For Improving Child Restraint Systems

NHTSA
November 22, 2000

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 22, 2000
Contact: Elly Martin
Tel.: 202-366-9550
NHTSA 54-00

To advance the Clinton-Gore administration’s comprehensive strategy to protect child passengers, U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater today announced a draft child restraint systems safety plan and invited public comment.

The Child Restraint Systems Safety Plan by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration outlines more than 30 new or ongoing agency activities to improve motor vehicle safety for children from infancy through age 10.

"We are committed to reducing death and injuries of children in motor vehicle crashes and the plan will help advance this effort," said Secretary Slater. "Parents want the best for their children, and their protection from injury in a crash is of paramount concern – safety is President Clinton and Vice President Gore’s highest transportation priority."

"It is imperative that we at NHTSA take every possible step to advance the cause of child passenger safety through innovative program development," said Dr. Sue Bailey, the agency’s administrator.

The Child Restraint Systems Safety Plan focuses on two major strategies: encouraging the correct use of safety seats that afford optimal protection and providing useful consumer information on child passenger safety.

The plan proposes that NHTSA add safety seats to vehicles that are crash tested through its New Car Assessment Program (NCAP); develop a 10-year-old child dummy to better evaluate the performance of booster seats designed for larger children; review test procedures for NHTSA’s standard on child safety seats; publish a "best practices" guide for organizations planning to establish safety seat fitting stations; and provide additional consumer information on the features and proper use of safety seats.

In announcing data from the 1999 Fatality Analysis Reporting System earlier this month, Secretary Slater noted that President Clinton’s goal of reducing fatalities among children under five by 15 percent, set in 1997, was met in 1999, one year ahead of the President’s target date. Fatalities in this group decreased to 555 in 1999 from 652 in 1996.

In announcing The Child Restraint Systems Safety Plan, Secretary Slater reminded all parents and caregivers to always transport young children in the back seat of a motor vehicle and be sure they are properly restrained for every trip. In addition, all children who weigh 40 to 80 pounds should use booster seats in combination with adult lap-shoulder belts.

NHTSA deputy administrator Rosalyn G. Millman last May announced before a House Commerce subcommittee that the Department would develop The Child Restraint Systems Safety Plan.

The agency is seeking comments on the draft plan through Dec. 22, 2000. The plan will be on the Internet at and in the Nov. 27, 2000, Federal Register. For further information, contact Cathy Gotschall at (202) 366-1653 () or Jane Dion at (202) 366-6779 (jdion@nhtsa.dot.gov).

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