The Automotive Occupant Restraints Council (AORC) commended the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on Tuesday for including a provision in reauthorization legislation for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) which would incentivize the use of seat belts by drivers and passengers.
“There is no doubt that seat belts, when used properly, save lives,” said George Kirchoff, AORC president. “The proposed legislation would provide a one-time grant of five times a state’s annual Federal traffic safety grant if the state upgrades from secondary to primary enforcement or achieves 90 percent belt use for two consecutive years without a primary law. To some states it would mean tens of millions of dollars,” Kirchoff said.
He noted that since 1996 seat belt use nationally has risen from slightly over 60 percent to well over 80 percent today. “Government statistics indicate that nearly 329,000 lives have been saved by vehicle safety technology since 1960. And a new study indicates that of all safety features added since 1960, safety belts account for more than half of all lives saved,” Kirchoff said.
Organizations including the Air Bag and Seat Belt Safety Campaign and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in conjunction with law enforcement agencies, state highway safety offices, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and the National Transportation Safety Board among others have done a marvelous job in saving lives and reducing injuries through greater seat belt use, according to Kirchoff.