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Saved by the Belt

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More Americans than ever are wearing their safety belts with usage rates climbing in 34 states this year, according to U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta.

In 2005, safety belt use ranged from 60.8 percent in Mississippi to 95.3 percent in Hawaii. Others breaking the 90 percent belt use barrier included Washington, Nevada, Arizona, Oregon, Michigan, California, Puerto Rico and Maryland.

Mississippi registered the lowest safety belt use in the nation followed by Massachusetts, Kentucky, Arkansas, South Dakota and Kansas. New Hampshire and Wyoming were the only states not to report statistically reliable estimates of belt use rate for 2005.

"Safety belts are useless unless people make the effort to wear them," Mineta said. "It's good to see more people taking their safety seriously, but we'll save the celebration for the day when everyone buckles up," he added.

Earlier this year, Secretary Mineta announced that the nationwide survey conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) showed belt use rates have hit the milestone of 82 percent -- the highest level in the nation’s history. Secretary Mineta also announced earlier that fatalities had hit a historic low: 1.46 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT).

At a rate of 82 percent, NHTSA estimates that safety belts are preventing 15,700 fatalities, 350,000 serious injuries, and $67 billion in economic costs associated with traffic injuries and deaths every year.

The Quincy Police Department through the “SAVED BY THE BELT” award program wants to recognize those drivers and passengers who were saved from serious injury or death by wearing or being in a safety restraint device when involved in a motor vehicle crash in the City of Quincy. In its ongoing effort to protect the motoring public, the Quincy Police Department wants to increase the number of drivers and passengers wearing safety restraints at all times.

If you were or someone you know was involved in a vehicle crash in Quincy where they were saved from serious injury or death by their safety restraint we would like to know and would like to enter them in the “SAVED BY THE BELT” award program. Please send in your application forms today, to ensure that they are entered into consideration.