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U.S. Transportation Secretary Mineta Commends Southeastern Region for Boosting Seat Belt Use

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Norman Y. Mineta

U.S. Transportation Secretary Mineta Commends Southeastern Region for Boosting Seat Belt Use

NHTSA
August 7, 2001

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NHTSA 43-01
Tuesday, August 7, 2001
Contact: Liz Neblett
Tel. No.: (202) 366-9550

U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta today commended eight southeastern states for working together over the Memorial Day holiday and increasing seat belt use by 9 percent.

"This wonderful news about the rise in seat belt use shows what a concerted team effort can do," said Secretary Mineta. "More important, we believe that the campaign is responsible for over 4.5 million new seat belt users in the southeast region and, if this rate is maintained, will save 656 lives and $843 million in health care costs each year."

The "Click It or Ticket" enforcement campaign, organized by the Atlanta-based region of the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in partnership with the Air Bag and Seat Belt Safety Campaign (ABSBSC), raised belt use from 65 percent to 74 percent in the four-week period ending June 3.

Preliminary estimates show that at the height of the campaign, Tennessee had the largest gain, 20 percent, followed by Mississippi at 13 percent. Kentucky had a 10 percent gain. Florida recorded a 9 percent increase. Georgia added 10; Alabama, 8; South Carolina, 5; and North Carolina, 4 percentage points to their already high usage rates.

Inspired by the successful "Click It or Ticket" campaigns in North and South Carolina, the NHTSA region staff joined with the eight state highway safety offices, the ABSBSC and all 3,250 law enforcement agencies region-wide to conduct the successful "Click It or Ticket" Memorial Day Campaign.

All eight governors in the region and the heads of state police patrols pledged their support with themes of leadership, enforcement, media, diversity outreach, and evaluation.

Over 26,000 checkpoint or patrol events took place during the weeks leading up to Memorial Day. Hundreds of TV and radio shows aired throughout the region on the "Click It or Ticket" effort, strategically augmented with more than $3.5 million in TV and radio ads paid for by the states and the Air Bag & Seat Belt Safety Campaign.

A major component of the campaign was to increase belt use among minorities through outreach meetings with community, faith, and organization leaders. Minority task force teams also were established in each state.

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