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Monday, May 25, 2009

New Study Reveals That Greater Seat Belt Use Could Save Many Lives

"Click It or Ticket" Nationwide Seat Belt Enforcement Campaign Kicked Off on May 18

Recently, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) released a study estimating that 1,652 lives could be saved and 22,372 serious injuries could be avoided annually on America's roads if the rate of seat belt use improved to 90 percent in all 50 states. Basing their report on 2007 data, the DOT also estimates that seat belts saved an astonishing 15,147 lives in 2007. The study's release coincided with the Department's launch of its "Click It or Ticket" nationwide enforcement campaign on May 18.

"Wearing a seat belt costs nothing and yet it's the single most effective traffic safety device ever invented," said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "We want to let the American people know that by failing to wear your seat belt, you not only risk serious injury or death, you also risk getting a ticket."

From May 18 to May 31, the "Click It or Ticket" campaign will be in effect. Involving more than 10,000 police agencies, the mobilization is supported by $8 million in national advertising funds allocated by Congress and coordinated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The ads, airing in English and Spanish, promote awareness of the intensified enforcement efforts and the increased chance of receiving a ticket if you are not wearing a seat belt. The commercial spots are aired on television, radio, and the Internet.

The NHTSA's National Occupant Protection Use Survey estimates that the national seat belt use rate remained steady at 83 percent in 2008. Yet one of five Americans still does not buckle up regularly.

Secretary LaHood, in a speech before students at a suburban Virginia high school, noted the worrisome reality that seat belt use rates are comparatively low among teenagers. Of the 4,540 16-to-20 year old passenger vehicle occupants who perished in 2007, 2,502 were not wearing seat belts at the time of the crash. Teen belt use rates are particularly low at night. Almost two-thirds (65 percent) of the 16-to-20 year olds killed in nighttime crashes in 2007 were not wearing seat belts at the time of the crash.

"Young people often think they’re invincible. Yet like everyone in a passenger vehicle, they're tremendously vulnerable in the event of a crash," Secretary LaHood said.

Along with motor vehicle safety, driver education helps ensure the safety of Americans. Whether you're getting your Commercial Drivers License, your Learner's Permit, or your Motorcycle License, America's Driver's License Headquarters is

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