Five States Receive $66 Million in NHTSA Grants for Improved Seatbelt Use

Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Utah, and West Virginia together received $66 million in federal grants for achieving seatbelt use rates above 85 percent in 2006 and 2007. Of the funds awarded, Georgia will receive $20.7 million; Nevada, $5.5 million; Pennsylvania, $28.6 million; Utah, $6.1 million; and West Virginia, $5 million.

"Through their efforts in raising seatbelt use among their residents, these states have proven that simply buckling up can save countless lives," said Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary Thomas J. Barrett. "There is much work yet to do, but America's roads are safer when more people wear their seatbelts."

The states are the first to receive Safety Belt Performance Grant funding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for reaching seatbelt use rates of 85 percent or above for two consecutive years. Each state must use at least $1 million of the funds awarded for behavioral highway safety activities, such as alcohol countermeasures, occupant protection, and pedestrian, bicycle and motorcycle safety.

The grants are FY 2008 incentive grants authorized under the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users to encourage the enactment and enforcement of seatbelt laws and seatbelt use. According to DOT figures, seatbelts save approximately 15,000 lives across the nation each year. Data suggest that every percentage increase in seatbelt use saves nearly 270 lives.

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