In order to reduce rising numbers of highway fatalities, more Americans must take steps to protect themselves, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters recently said in connection with a study released on November 28, 2006 announcing changes in the seat belt and helmet use figures from 2005 to 2006.
Citing new data from the National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS), Secretary Peters said that seat belt use in the United States now stands at 81 percent, which is slightly lower than the 2005 use rate of 82 percent. “A seat belt can’t work if it isn’t on,” said Secretary Peters. “Whatever it takes, we all need to do a better job making sure everyone chooses to buckle up.”
The Secretary noted that the Department of Transportation (DOT) is working with states to promote seat belt use, providing more than $123 million in 2006 incentive grants to states with primary seat belt laws. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of DOT also coordinates the national Click It or Ticket law enforcement campaigns, which mobilize police agencies across the country to enforce state belt laws.
For more information about the NOPUS surveys, please see Seat Belt Use in 2006: Overall Results and Motorcycle Helmet Use in 2006: Overall Results.