NTSB: Successful 10-Year Airbag & Seatbelt Campaign Ends Next Month

National Transportation Safety Board Chair Mark V. Rosenker has praised the National Safety Council Airbag & Seatbelt Safety Campaign, which will end operations at the end of 2007, for advocating primary enforcement seat belt laws, and for its leadership in improving passenger safety. The campaign was founded in response to 1995 Safety Board recommendations that asked automobile manufacturers to warn parents of the dangers that air bags posed to children. "The Campaign has been a remarkable example of a public-private partnership, including the Safety Board, other federal agencies and the private sector working as a team to advance airbag safety and increase seatbelt use," Rosenker said. "They have been instrumental in creating public awareness and change on our highways. I congratulate them on their success in furthering vehicle occupant safety."

During its decade long existence, the campaign assisted in bringing about a shift in the way children 12 and under were transported in vehicles--in a rear seat. "This is one of the most successful changes in societal behavior in recent decades, rivaling changes in attitudes toward smoking and drunk driving," Rosenker said.

The campaign also spearheaded national adoption of the Click It or Ticket program and fostered a massive national annual law enforcement mobilization to enforce seat belt use laws. The initiatives have helped to achieve a national seatbelt use rate of more than 82 percent, a 21-percentage-point increase. Furthermore, the campaign's efforts led to adoption of primary enforcement seat belt use laws in many more states. These laws now cover about two-thirds of the U.S. population, compared to less than 40 percent when the campaign began. "The Campaign's work has made a tremendous impact on our roadways and has saved countless lives," Rosenker said. "But we cannot rest on this success. We all must continue to put safety first on our highway."

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