DOT to spend $44 million promoting seat belt use

| 1/22/2002

The Department of Transportation has announced it will share $44.4 million promoting seat belt use with 48 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The DOT will give grants to states provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to develop innovative projects to increase seat belt use.

The grant program's goal is to find new approaches to increase belt usage with a major focus on highly visible enforcement of seat belt laws, coupled with public information and education. According to NHTSA, seat belts are the most effective safety device in vehicles and have saved more than 135,000 lives since 1975. In 2001, seat belt use in the United States was about 73 percent.

Authorized by the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, the grants provide $500 million over five years for states to increase seat belt use. Among states, only Maine and Wyoming chose not to apply for the grants. The amounts for fiscal year 2002 range from $365,000 to about $4 million.