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Higher Seat Belt Use Could Save Many Lives, Study Shows as 'Click It or Ticket' National Enforcement Campaign Kicks Off
An estimated 1,652 lives could be saved and 22,372 serious injuries avoided each year if seat belt use rates rose to 90 percent in every state, according to a new report. The research, based on 2007 data, also estimates seat belts saved a stunning 15,147 lives that year. “Wearing a seat belt costs nothing and yet it’s the single most effective traffic safety device ever invented,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. The study was released May 14 on the launch of the “Click It or Ticket” nationwide enforcement campaign (May 18-31). Speaking at a Virginia high school, LaHood underscored the worrisome reality that seat belt use rates are relatively low among teenagers. Of 4,540 16-to-20 year old passenger vehicle occupants killed in 2007, 2,502 were unbelted at the time of the crash. Teen belt use is especially low at night. In 2007, nearly two-thirds of the 16-to-20 year olds killed in nighttime crashes were unbelted.
Read the News Release l Read the Report

DOT Doubles Roof Strength Standard for Light Vehicles, Sets First-Ever Standards for Heavier Vehicles
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced tough, new roof standards that will significantly strengthen vehicle roof structures and improve rollover crash protection. “Rollovers are the deadliest crashes on our highways and today’s rule will help occupants survive these horrific events,” said LaHood on April 30. The new NHTSA regulation doubles the requirement for light vehicles weighing up to 6,000 pounds and specifies both driver and passenger sides of the roof must be capable of withstanding a force equal to three times the weight of the vehicle. Also, vehicles from 6,000 to 10,000 pounds, which have never been regulated, must now have both sides of the roof capable of withstanding a force equal to 1.5 times the weight of the vehicle.
Read the News Release l Read the Final Rule

DOT Orders Full Review of Motorcoach Safety
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has ordered a full departmental review of motorcoach safety. A Departmental Motorcoach Safety Action Plan will be created from the review's findings. The plan will outline additional steps needed to improve motorcoach safety for the millions of Americans who rely on these vehicles for safe transportation. “Motorcoaches have been a safe form of transportation in the United States for many years, but even a single crash or accident is unacceptable” said LaHood on April 30. “We will continue our efforts to make them as safe as possible."
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DOT Announces New Consumer Program for Child Safety Seats
The Department of Transportation will create a new consumer program to help parents and caregivers find a child seat that fits in their vehicle -- the result of a comprehensive review ordered by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to improve child passenger safety and Federal child seat standards. Sec. LaHood also ordered NHTSA to develop a new side impact safety standard for car seats. Side impact crashes account for one-third of all highway deaths among children under thirteen years old. “Infants and children are our most precious cargo,” said LaHood. “We need to constantly improve our track record and help parents to choose a child seat that fits in their vehicle.”
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DOT Sec. LaHood Announces Record Low Traffic Deaths, Improved State Seat Belt Use
Traffic deaths on U.S. roads last year reached a record low, while seat belt use continued to climb, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced April 6. New state-by-state data shows that Michigan has the highest seat belt use at 97.2 percent, while Massachusetts registered the lowest (66.8%). NHTSA estimated that 37,313 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2008, the lowest number since 1961 (36,285). The nation also saw the lowest fatality rate ever recorded -- 1.28 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, down from 1.36 in 2007.
Read the News Release
State-by-state seat belt use l Estimated Fatalties Report

What's New, Latest Updates and Features on Our Site
feature arrow icon USDOT/NHTSA FY2010 Budget
feature arrow icon Feb. 26: Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Rear Visibility (large PDF)
feature arrow icon Jan. 12: VA, DOT, DOD Steer Vets toward Safe Driving
feature arrow icon Data Showing Record Low Highway Fatalities for 2008
feature arrow icon NHTSA Statement On Implementation of Five-Star Federal Safety Rating Program
feature arrow icon An Examination of the Criticisms of the Minimum Legal Drinking Age 21 Laws in the U.S. from a Traffic-Safety Perspective
feature arrow icon New Data Show Drinking Age Laws Saved 4,441 Lives Over 5 Years
feature arrow icon Seat Belt Use at Record Level in 2008
feature arrow icon DUI Fatalities Down Nationwide and in 32 States
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