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Taking Responsibility

The National Goals

The National Strategy

The Four Point Plan

Specific Activities to Implement the National Strategy

Reporting and Recognition


Executive Order

President Clinton's Directive

In his weekly radio address to the nation on December 28, 1996, President Clinton asked all Americans to always wear seat belts as a first line of defense against traffic injuries and fatalities and to always keep children, ages 12 and under, buckled in the back seat where they are safest. On January 23, 1997, the President directed the Secretary of Transportation to prepare a plan to increase the use of seat belts nationwide.

The President directed the Secretary to work with Congress, the states, and other concerned groups, including the automobile and insurance industries and safety and consumer groups, to develop the plan. He further directed that the plan address:

  1. state laws that require the use of seat belts;

  2. assistance from the Department of Transportation to improve these state laws; and

  3. a comprehensive education campaign by the public and private sectors to help the public understand the need to wear seat belts.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), as the lead agency in developing the plan, met with and solicited input from Members of Congress, other Federal agencies, the states, the private sector, including automobile manufacturers and insurers, and many other groups and organizations. The plan presented here is based on their advice and on a solid foundation of research and practical experience with strategies to increase seat belt use.