NTSB Press Release

National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs


August 30, 2001

WASHINGTON, D.C. - National Transportation Safety Board Acting Chairman Carol Carmody today commended the Air Bag and Seat Belt Safety Campaign for its important efforts to both educate millions of Americans about proper child restraints and help states strengthen their seat belt laws.

The Campaign - launched in May 1996 by the automobile and insurance industries - was a response to a November 1995 NTSB urgent recommendation to establish a nationwide multi-media campaign to educate the public about the dangers that air bags pose to children.

In 1996, the Safety Board issued a study on child safety in passenger vehicles that included the following recommendations:

One aspect of the study indicated that the number of children killed or injured by air bags would increase unless immediate action was taken.

Carmody’s remarks were delivered at a news conference today in Washington marking the Campaign’s fifth anniversary.

Recognizing the contributions of the Campaign, Carmody said that “the fact that the rate of child deaths each year by air bags has declined while the number of front seat passenger air bags has increased is truly remarkable progress and a tribute to the hard work of everyone involved.”

Highlighting the strategic importance of educating the public about child passenger safety, Carmody stated that “the silver lining in the air bag tragedies was that it finally opened the nation’s eyes to the importance of using seat belts and properly restraining children in the back seat.”

Carmody lauded the Campaign for its collaborative effort that demonstrates the “remarkable progress that can be made when industry, government, advocacy groups and the public come together to tackle a crisis.”

In addition to its educational efforts, the Campaign conducted twice-yearly Operation ABC Mobilizations, which helped support more than ten thousand law enforcement agencies nationwide to step up enforcement of seat belt and child safety seat laws.

Citing the facts that no state currently has a law that meets all the Safety Board’s recommendations, and that children continue to be killed and injured by airbag deployments, Carmody said there is still much to be done: “Improving the quality of the state seat belt and child passenger protection laws, stepping up enforcement of those laws and continuing to educate consumers on the ABCs of air bag safety is essential to achieving the highest level of safety on our roadways. ”

Child transportation safety is on the NTSB’s Most Wanted Safety Improvements. More information about the Board’s work on this issue is available at www.ntsb.gov.

NTSB Office of Public Affairs: (202) 314-6100



The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged with determining the probable cause
of transportation accidents, promoting transportation safety, and assisting victims of transportation accidents and their families.