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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 and, or telephone 888-327-4236.


  1. CDC. WONDER. Atlanta, Georgia: CDC, National Center for Health Statistics, 1999. Available at
  2. U.S. Department of Transportation. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Fatality analysis reporting system 2000. Available at
  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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