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March 24,  2003

U.S. Transportation Secretary Mineta Announces
Grants of $40.7 Million to Increase Safety Belt Use

(SafetyAlerts) - U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta today announced that 43 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico will share approximately $40.7 million in National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) grants for states that develop innovative projects to increase safety belt use.

"I am pleased to see these funds provided to states to promote safety belt use," Secretary Mineta said. "Everyone should buckle up for every trip because safety belts are the best protection available in a crash. Their use prevents injury and death on our roads and reduces the economic drain caused by traffic injuries."

According to NHTSA, safety belts are the most effective safety device in vehicles and would save thousands more lives annually if everyone buckled up. In 2002, safety belt use in the United States was about 75 percent.

The goal of this grant program is to implement proven methods of increasing safety belt use across the nation with a major focus on highly visible enforcement of safety belt laws, coupled with public information and education campaigns delivering a clear enforcement message.

For the first time ever, NHTSA will devote $8 million of the Section 157 innovation funds to a national broadcast advertising campaign delivering the message "Click It or Ticket" in support of highly visible enforcement. In addition, an estimated $16 to $18 million of the state grant funds will be used by the states to purchase ads in their own media markets.

"We know that enforcement of belt laws that is advertised and highly visible increases belt use," said NHTSA Administrator Jeffrey W. Runge, M.D. "It's not about tickets, it's about more people staying alive and well."

The grants are authorized by the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21). The Act provides $500 million over five years for states to increase safety belt use and another $700 million over six years for states to enact and enforce tough laws to prevent alcohol-impaired driving.

The innovative project grants were awarded competitively. All 50 States, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico were eligible to apply. The grant amounts for fiscal year 2003 range from $277,610 for New Hampshire, Idaho and the District of Columbia to more than $4.2 million for Texas.

The following states received fiscal year 2003 Section 157 grants to increase safety belt use in the amounts indicated: Alabama, $1,072,369; Alaska, $356,928; Arizona, $563,470, Arkansas, $594,879; California, $3,569,276; Colorado, $793,172; Connecticut, $594,879; Delaware, $356,928; District of Columbia, $277,610; Florida, $2,538,152; Georgia, $1,189,759; Hawaii, $289,508; Idaho, $277,610; Illinois, $1,110,441, Indiana, $861,502; Iowa, $753,514, Kentucky, $1,031,124; Louisiana, $456,074; Maryland, $680,780, Massachusetts, $662,299, Michigan, $1,764,809, Minnesota, $951,807; Mississippi, $674,197; Missouri, $778,102; Nebraska, $317,269; Nevada, $436,245; New Hampshire, $277,610; New Jersey, $1,136,360; New York, $1,982,931; North Carolina, $713,855; North Dakota, $356,928; Ohio, $1,098,544; Oklahoma, $555,221; Oregon, $396,586; Pennsylvania, $2,062,248; Rhode Island, $396,586; South Carolina, $490,909; Tennessee, $567,911; Texas, $4,203,814; Utah, $370,808; Vermont, $396,586; Virginia, $1,070,783; Washington, $872,490; West Virginia, $436,245; and Puerto Rico, $336,783.


Source: NHTSA

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