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.
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.
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.