NTSB Press Release

National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs


January 25, 2006

Washington, DC -- National Transportation Safety Board Member Debbie Hersman will participate in the Seat Belt Champion Award Program honoring five lawmakers and the South Carolina Legislative Black Caucus for adding a primary enforcement amendment into the state's existing seat belt statute. The program, which is being sponsored by the Meharry-State Farm Alliance, will be held on January 26, 2006 at the Capital City Club in Columbia, South Carolina. On December 9, 2005, primary seat belt enforcement became law in South Carolina. Primary enforcement laws allow police officers to execute a traffic stop and cite unbelted vehicle occupants without needing another reason for making the stop.

"The Safety Board recognizes these legislators whose courage and dedication to the mission of highway safety have been instrumental in the passage of the primary seat belt law," Hersman said.

States that enact primary enforcement seat belt laws experience increased seat belt use rates ranging from between 5 percent and 18 percentage points. Additionally, seat belt use in primary enforcement law States is 84 percent, while the belt use rate in secondary enforcement law States is only 73 percent.

Primary Seat Belt Enforcement has been on the Safety Board's Most Wanted list of safety recommendations since 1998. Currently, only 22 states and the District of Columbia have primary enforcement laws.

The following lawmakers will be honored at the invitation only luncheon: Senator Darrell Jackson (D-21st); Senator Joel Lourie (D-22nd); Senator Greg Ryberg (R-24th); Representative Ronald Parker Townsend (R-7th); and Representative Phillip Owens (R-5th).

In January 2005, Member Hersman testified before the South Carolina Senate, Subcommittee of the Transportation Committee on Primary Enforcement Legislation.

NTSB Media Contact:
Terry N. Williams



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.