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Notice to Readers: Buckle Up America! Week, May 24--31, 2004

Motor-vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death overall and the most common cause of death among children and young adults in the United States. During 2002, a total of 42,815 persons died in motor-vehicle crashes; of these, more than half were not wearing safety belts (1). Enactment and enforcement of safety-belt laws are the most effective means of reducing crash-related deaths and serious injuries, saving an estimated 14,000 lives in 2002.

Age is a key predictor of safety-belt use. In 2002, prevalence of safety-seat or safety-belt restraint use was 99% for infants, 94% for toddlers, 83% for children aged 4--7 years, 82% among youths aged 8--15 years, and 69% among persons aged 16--24 years (2). The national rate of usage overall increased to 79% in 2003, an improvement of 4% since the preceding year (3). Greater safety-belt use has potential for saving lives, preventing injuries, and reducing economic costs associated with traffic crashes.

Buckle Up America! Week includes efforts to promote proper use of safety belts and child safety seats in the United States and move toward the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's goal of 90% usage by 2005 (4) and the national health objective of 92% usage by 2010 (5). Safety-belt use is the most effective means of reducing fatal and nonfatal injuries in motor-vehicle crashes. Information about motor-vehicle injury prevention is available from CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc. Information regarding Buckle Up America! Week activities is available at http://www.buckleupamerica.org.

References

  1. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Traffic safety facts 2002: a compilation of motor vehicle crash data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System and the General Estimates System. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Transportation, 2004; publication no. DOT-HS-809-620. Available at http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/pdf/nrd-30/ncsa/tsfann/tsf2002final.pdf.
  2. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Traffic safety facts 2002: children. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Transportation, 2004; publication no. DOT-HS-809-607.
  3. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Safety belt use in 2003. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Transportation, 2004; publication no. DOT-HS-809-646.
  4. 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, 1997; publication no. DOT-HS-808-576.
  5. 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.



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