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May 18, 2001
Contact: Sandy Bonzo, M.L.I.S.
CDC, National Center for Injury Control
and Prevention
(770) 4884902

Press Release

Recommendations for preventing motor vehicle deaths

The Task Force on Community Preventive Services, an independent panel of 15 community health experts, released its findings about effective ways of preventing motor vehicle injuries in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Recommendations and Reports (Vol. 50, RR-7, May 18, 2001). Motor vehicle-related injuries are the leading cause of death for Americans 1-34 years of age. Approximately 41,000 persons in the United States die in motor-vehicle crashes each year. Crash injuries result in approximately 500,000 hospitalizations and 4 million emergency room visits annually.

As a result of their review, the Task Force strongly recommends the following:

  • laws requiring the use of child safety seats
  • distribution and education programs for child safety seats
  • safety belt laws
  • primary seat belt enforcement laws (allowing a police officer to stop a vehicle solely for an observed belt law violation)
  • enhanced safety belt enforcement programs (increased enforcement at specific locations and times to target violations of safety belt laws)
  • lowering the illegal blood alcohol concentration for adult drivers to 0.08%
  • maintaining the minimum legal drinking age at 21 years
  • sobriety checkpoints

The Task Force also recommends:

  • information and enforcement campaigns to promote use of child safety seats
  • incentive and education programs to promote the use of child safety seats
  • a lower legal blood alcohol concentration for young or inexperienced drivers

Summaries of the strongly recommended and recommended interventions are available on the Internet at www.cdc.gov/ncipc/duip/mvsafety.htm.

The full report will be available online, after 4 p.m., at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/mmwr_rr.html

The Task Force reviewed studies of community-based interventions to increase the proper use of child safety seats and safety belts and reduce alcohol-impaired driving. The findings are the result of an extensive review of the scientific literature to determine which interventions are effective.

Task Force panel members include healthcare providers, state and local health department personnel, academicians, and policymakers. CDC staff support the work of the Task Force, and are responsible for day-to-day coordination and execution of the development, dissemination and evaluation of the Community Guide.

CDC protects people's health and safety by preventing and controlling diseases and injuries; enhances health decisions by providing credible information about critical health issues; and promotes healthy living through strong partnerships with local, national, and international organizations.


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