Thursday, June 30, 2005

NTSB urges safety first on 4th of July

Washington, DC - As Americans get ready to enjoy the Independence Day weekend National Transportation Safety Board Acting Chairman Mark Rosenker urges everyone to think safety first this holiday weekend. "Nothing ruins a holiday like a trip to the emergency room so buckle up, don't drink and drive, and wear your personal flotation device if you're boating." Increasing seat belt usage, eliminating drinking and driving, and requiring personal flotation devices (PFDs) for children on boats are issues on the NTSB's list of Most Wanted safety improvements. Fifty- six percent of motor vehicle occupants killed in 2004 were unrestrained. Proper restraint is the best way to protect every person in a vehicle and when adults are buckled up, 87 percent of children are buckled up too. When buckling up children, remember that children up to 8 years old need to be in a child safety seat or booster seat appropriate for their height and weight. In 2004 more than 16,500 people were killed in alcohol-related highway accidents and the Independence Day holiday weekend is the most dangerous weekend of the year in terms of alcohol-related fatalities. So whether as a driver, passenger, rider, or pedestrian, or when boating, play it safe by eliminating those things that impair or distract you. Paying attention pays dividends. In the past 10 years more than 7,500 people have died in recreational boating accidents. Safety Board studies have estimated that at least 37 percent of the operators involved in fatal accidents were known to have or were presumed to have consumed alcohol before their accidents. Like seat belts in automobiles, wearing a PFD greatly improves your chances of surviving a boating accident. The United States Coast Guard (USCG) reported that about 86 percent of victims who drowned as a result of boating accidents were not wearing PFDs. As record numbers of Americans hit the roads to celebrate this Independence Day, keep yourself and your family safe - buckle up, don't drink and drive, and always wear a PFD when on the water. ## Media Contact: Lauren Peduzzi (202) 314-6100

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