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Notice to Readers: Buckle Up America Week, May 20--27, 2002

May 20--27, 2002, is Buckle Up America Week. Sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), this is a national campaign to promote safety-belt and child safety seat use. The focus of this year's campaign is to increase safety-belt use among teenagers.

In 1999, motor-vehicle crashes accounted for 38% of all deaths for persons aged 15--19 years (1). In 2000, an estimated 5,648 teenagers died in motor-vehicle crashes. Among the passengers killed, 63% were riding with a teenaged driver. Of teenagers killed as drivers or passengers, one third were wearing safety belts (2). Teenagers have the lowest safety-belt use among all age groups (50%), compared with a national estimate of 73% among all ages. Greater safety-belt use among teenagers would substantially decrease unintentional death and injuries in the United States.

Buckle Up America Week involves a wide range of efforts to promote safety-belt use among all persons in the United States to achieve NHTSA's goal of 90% safety-belt use by 2005 (3) and the national health objective for 2010 of 92% safety-belt use (4). Safety-belt laws and enhanced law enforcement are among the most effective means for increasing widespread safety-belt use (5). The combination of education and public awareness targeted to those most at risk and high-visibility law enforcement provides the greatest opportunity to make immediate gains in safety-belt use that can be sustained over time. These strategies were endorsed and recommended by the Task Force on Community Preventive Services to reduce injuries to motor-vehicle occupants (6). Additional information on child passenger safety and Buckle Up America activities is available at http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov and http://www.buckleupamerica.org, or telephone 888-327-4236.

References

  1. CDC. WONDER. Atlanta, Georgia: CDC, National Center for Health Statistics, 1999. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/wonder.
  2. U.S. Department of Transportation. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Fatality analysis reporting system 2000. Available at http://www.fars.nhsta.dot.gov/queryreport.cfm.
  3. U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Presidential initiative for increasing seat belt use nationwide: recommendations from the Secretary of Transportation. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1997 (Publication no. DOT-HS 808-576).
  4. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Healthy People 2010 (conference ed., 2 vols). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2000.
  5. Dinh-Zarr TB, Sleet DA, Shults RA, et al, and the Task Force on Community Preventive Services. Reviews of evidence regarding interventions to increase the use of safety belts. Am J Prev Med 2001;21:48--65.
  6. CDC. Motor vehicle occupant injury: strategies for increasing use of child 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).



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