National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs
The National Transportation Safety Board is presenting awards to Governor Ernie Fletcher and to two legislators, Senate President David Williams and Representative Tom Burch, for their initiative and outstanding leadership in promoting and adopting laws to authorize primary safety belt enforcement and to create a 3-stage graduated driver licensing system in Kentucky.
Safety Board Member Deborah A.P. Hersman will give the conference closing speech and present the awards on April 26, 2006 during the closing plenary session of the Kentucky Lifesavers Conference.
The Safety Board maintains a Most Wanted list of safety recommendations because of their potential to save lives. This list includes both primary safety belt enforcement and graduated driver licensing laws. In June of 1995, Safety Board recommended that States enact legislation that provides for primary enforcement of seat belt laws. In 1997, the Safety Board again called for the States to enact primary enforcement. Primary enforcement remains on the list because of its potential to save many lives.
After reviewing crashes involving novice drivers under the age of 21, in 1993 the Safety Board recommended that Kentucky and the other States take several specific actions, including implementation of a comprehensive provisional license system for young novice drivers, also known as graduated driver licensing (GDL). The model program requires young novice drivers to proceed through three stages - a learner's permit, an intermediate or provisional license, and a full license. GDL establishes restrictions, such as passenger, cell phone, and nighttime driving restrictions, so that, until the driver has had an opportunity to gain experience, initial driving occurs in less dangerous circumstances. Restrictions are lifted after successful completion of the learning and intermediate stages, without any moving violations or crashes attributed to the driver.
Kentucky estimates that if all Kentuckians used seat belts there would be 279 fewer fatalities per year and that a 10 percent increase in use (from 66.5 to 76.5 percent) would prevent 62 traffic deaths each year. The State also estimates that graduated drivers licensing will save 27 teen lives in Kentucky each year.
The Conference is being held at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center, 9700 Blue Grass Parkway, Louisville, Kentucky.
NTSB Media Contact:
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.