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Notice to Readers: Buckle Up America Week: Focus on Teens and Young Adults, May 19--26, 2003

Motor-vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers and young adults. In 2000, a total of 6,041 persons aged 16--20 years died from motor-vehicle crashes (1). Safety-belt use is the most effective means of reducing fatal and nonfatal injuries in motor-vehicle crashes. Teenagers and young adults are among those with the lowest safety-belt use rates. In 2002, safety belt use among those aged 16--24 years was 69%, the lowest safety-belt use among all age groups, compared with a national estimate of 75% among all ages (2). Greater safety-belt use in teens and young adults 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 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration'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. Recommendations are available at http://www.thecommunityguide.org (6). Additional information on Buckle Up America activities is available at http://www.buckleupamerica.org.

References

  1. CDC. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS). Atlanta, Georgia: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, CDC, 2001. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/wisquars.
  2. U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. National Center for Statistics and Analysis. March 2003; publication no. DOT-HS 809-557.
  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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