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U.S. Secretary of Transportation Rodney E. Slater Announces Partnership To Encourage Seat Belt Usage by African Americans

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Rodney E. Slater

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Rodney E. Slater Announces Partnership To Encourage Seat Belt Usage by African Americans

U.S. Department of Transportation
December 12, 2000

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, December 12, 2000
Contact: Ben Langer
Tel.: (202) 355-5574
DOT 237-00

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Rodney E. Slater and the Congress of National Black Churches (CNBC) today announced a new partnership to help educate African Americans about the life-saving and injury prevention benefits provided by child safety seats and seat belts.

"This is the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) first national partnership with a church organization to promote child passenger safety," said Secretary Slater. "I want to thank the CNBC for joining our national efforts to increase child safety seat and seat belt usages rates in the African American community."

The partnership with CNBC is another collaboration that the USDOT has undertaken as part of the "Buckle Up America" program. Established by President Clinton in 1997, the goal of this national program is to increase the nation’s seat belt usage rates from 70 percent to 85 percent by the end of 2000, and to 90 percent by 2005. Currently, the Buckle Up America program involves more than 100 public and private sector partners throughout the nation that are promoting one unified message.

The CNBC will play a prominent role in the USDOT’s efforts to reduce the over-representation of African Americans in fatal motor vehicle crashes. Presently, motor vehicles crashes are the leading cause of death for African American children through the age of 14 and the second leading killer of African Americans between the ages of 15 and 24. As part of its highly successful National Health Program (NHP), the CNBC will implement a national grassroots campaign targeting its 19 million members and 65,000 churches focusing on increasing child safety and seat belt usage rates among African American families, and conduct a series of child safety seat clinics and traffic safety forums.

Safety is the Department of Transportation’s top priority and the North Star by which we are willing to be guided and judged. Under President Clinton and Vice President Gore’s leadership, America’s record in passenger safety has improved greatly. The use of seat belts and child safety seats is at an all-time high, highway fatality and injury rates are at an all time low, and railroad grade crossing deaths are steadily declining. This partnership is another milestone in the DOT’s continuing efforts to promote passenger safety across the nation.

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