Wednesday, March 31, 2004
|Contact: Tim Hurd
Telephone: (202) 366-9550
U.S. Transportation Secretary Mineta Announces
Grants of $36.4 Million to Increase Safety Belt Use
U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta today announced that 47 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico will share $36.4 million in National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) grants for states that develop innovative projects to increase safety belt use.
"Safety belts are the most effective safety device in a car. They prevent people from getting killed in crashes," Secretary Mineta said. "These grants provide incentives to states to enact and enforce laws that promote use and educate people about the effectiveness of safety belts."
Secretary Mineta said that safety belts also save money. Injuries to unbuckled occupants costs this country roughly $18 billion each year in medical care and lost productivity.
According to NHTSA, safety belts are the most effective safety device in vehicles and their increasing use has saved more than 164,750 lives since 1975. In 2003, safety belt use in the United States reached an all-time high of 79 percent, in part due to high visibility enforcement programs funded by NHTSA.
The goal of this grant program is seeks to encourage new approaches to further increase safety belt use, with a major focus on highly visibilityle enforcement of safety belt laws, coupled with public information and education.
In addition to the $36.4 million, Congress has directed the department to use $10 million in grant funds to purchase advertising to air during safety belt enforcement mobilization campaigns.
"Safety belt use can prevent injury and death. We know that enforcement of belt laws that is advertised and highly visible increases belt use," said NHTSA Administrator Jeffrey W. Runge, M.D.
The innovative project grants were awarded competitively. All 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico were eligible to apply. New Hampshire, South Dakota and Wyoming did not apply for the grants. The amounts for individual state fiscal year 2004 grants range from $250,000 to more than $3.4 million.
The following list shows the states receiving grants and their grant amounts:
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