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Secretary LaHood: “Vince and Larry” Become Permanent Additions to Smithsonian

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Ray LaHood

Secretary LaHood: “Vince and Larry” Become Permanent Additions to Smithsonian

July 14, 2010

NHTSA 03-10
July 14, 2010
Contact: Ellen Martin
Telephone: (202) 366-9550

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation is donating a number of “Vince and Larry” crash-test dummy costumes and related auto safety items to the Smithsonian Institution, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced today. These objects now become part of the permanent collection of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, DC.

“We learned a lot from Vince and Larry about the importance of buckling up,” said Secretary LaHood. “They are a part of American culture and became household names while educating the public on seat belt use. Their message still holds true today.”

Beginning in 1985, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration promoted highway safety through a series of public service television spots starring actors dressed up as talking crash test dummies Vince and Larry. The spots aired on television and radio and also ran in magazines. The campaign, conducted through 1998, used slapstick humor and comical antics to remind people of the importance of wearing a seat belt.

At a ceremony today, NHTSA Administrator David Strickland formally transferred the “Vince and Larry” objects to the Smithsonian.

“The Vince and Larry ads, along with our high-visibility enforcement campaign Click It or Ticket, have proved tremendously helpful in building public awareness of seat belt use,” said Administrator Strickland. “As a result, today, a record high of 84 percent of Americans buckle up.”

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