Statement of NHTSA Administrator David Strickland On 'Sunset Provision' in Rhode Island Primary Seat Belt Legislation

| Washington, DC

For Immediate Release
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Contact: Lynda Tran (202) 366-9550

WASHINGTON, DC – National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator David Strickland today issued the following statement on primary seat belt legislation currently under consideration by the Rhode Island Legislature. House Bill (H5449) Substitute A is set for a floor vote today and Senate Bill 0022 Substitute A (S0022A) cleared the Senate on June 23:

"The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is pleased that the Rhode Island Senate passed legislation last week that paves the way to the state's first-ever primary seat belt law. However, with the State House considering a similar bill today, we hope lawmakers will act to remove a 'sunset provision' that limits the impact of this important legislation on the safety of Rhode Island residents over the long term.

"NHTSA research shows primary seat belt laws save nearly 13,000 lives nationwide every year and greatly reduce the incidence of severe roadway injuries. In fact, other states have experienced cumulative benefits in the years following passage of their primary belt laws. By including a sunset provision in its legislation, Rhode Island risks reducing the overall effect of this key public safety measure.

"NHTSA hopes the Legislature will send a bill to Governor Chafee this week that eliminates the sunset provision from this critical seat belt law."