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CAR SAFETY NEWS

April 19, 2004

"Government allocates $33 million to promote safer driving"

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced that it would allot $33 million in federal grants to state programs combating drunk driving and promoting child restraints and safety belts.

The grants, authorized by the Transportation Act for the 21 st Century (TEA-21), are used to implement road safety programs at the state and local level.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta said, "These grants will be used by states to address our key concerns of safety belt usage and impaired driving, which are key to improving safety on America's highways."

According to National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) figures, 14,000 lives are saved each year because of safety belts; another 300 are saved by child restraints. Statistics also show a 79 percent safety belt usage rate; a 99 percent infant safety seat usage rate; a 94 percent usage rate for children age 1 to 4; and an 83 percent rate of booster seat usage for children age 4 to 7.

The NHTSA also reports 17,419 alcohol-related accident fatalities in 2002.

These grants are designed to continue and increase programs aimed at further decreasing deaths caused by impaired driving and non-usage of safety belts.

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