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Notice to Readers: Buckle Up America! Week --- May 21--28, 2001

May 21--28, 2001, is Buckle Up America! Week. During this week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Air Bag and Seat Belt Safety Campaign, through Operation ABC (America Buckles Up Children) Mobilization, will call the public's attention to the need for drivers and passengers always to wear safety belts on short, low-speed trips in addition to longer trips driven on high-speed highways. During the week, law enforcement agencies will increase enforcement of child restraint and safety-belt laws on rural roads, city streets, and in local neighborhoods as well as on highways and interstates. Adult safety belt use is being emphasized because research shows that when adults buckle up, they buckle up their children a higher percentage of the time.

During 2000, approximately 42,000 persons died in traffic-related crashes in the United States; of these, 18,000 failed to wear their safety belts (1). In 1999, of the 550 vehicle-occupant deaths among children aged <5 years, 53% were unrestrained (2). Motor-vehicle collisions are the leading cause of death among children aged 1--14 years (CDC, unpublished data, 2000). Safety-belt laws and law enforcement are the most effective means of reducing crash-related deaths and serious injuries (3)---saving an estimated 11,000 lives in 1999 (4). However, approximately 30% of drivers do not use safety belts regularly.

Partner organizations and community-based advocates are urged to take the following actions during Buckle Up America! Week: 1) express support for local law enforcement's strict enforcement of local safety-belt laws; 2) conduct educational and media activities about the importance of using safety belts on every trip; 3) assess the rates of local safety belt and child safety seat use and promote increased use; and 4) conduct press events in support of law enforcement mobilization activities. Additional information on child passenger safety and Operation ABC Mobilization is available from NHTSA at http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov or telephone, (888) 327-4236.

Reference

  1. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 1999 annual report and 2000 early assessment files. Washington, DC: US Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, National Center for Statistics and Analysis, 2000.
  2. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Traffic safety facts 1999---children. Washington, DC: US Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2000.
  3. CDC. Motor-vehicle occupant injury: strategies for increasing use of child safety seats, increasing use of safety belts, and reducing alcohol-impaired driving. A report on recommendations of the Task Force on Community Preventive Services. MMWR 2001;50(no. RR-7)(in press).
  4. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Traffic safety facts 1999---occupant protection. Washington, DC: US Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2000.

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Safer, Healthier People

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
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This page last reviewed 5/10/2001