National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs
Washington, DC -- As Americans get ready to enjoy Independence Day, National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Mark Rosenker urges everyone to think safety first this holiday week.
"As we celebrate our country's independence, it is important to remember safety first and wear seat belts, not drink and drive, and wear your personal flotation device if you're boating," Rosenker said.
Increasing seat belt usage, eliminating drinking and driving, and requiring personal flotation devices (PFDs) for children on boats are issues on the NTSB's list of Most Wanted safety improvements.
In 2005, more than 31,400 people died as occupants in auto crashes, 55 percent of whom were unrestrained. When adults are buckled up, 86 percent of children are buckled up, but when adults are not buckled up, only 50 percent of children are buckled up. Additionally, lap/shoulder belts, when used, reduce the risk of fatal injury to front seat passenger car occupants by 45 percent and the risk of moderate-to-critical injury by 50 percent. When buckling up children, remember that children up to 8 years old need to be in a child safety seat or booster seat appropriate for their height and weight.
In 2005, hard core drinking drivers were involved in a minimum of 9,236 highway fatalities and the Independence Day period is the most dangerous of the year in terms of alcohol-related fatalities. So whether as a driver, passenger, rider, or pedestrian, or when boating, play it safe by eliminating those things that impair or distract you. Paying attention pays dividends.
In the past 10 years more than 7,500 people have died in recreational boating accidents. Safety Board studies have estimated that at least 37 percent of the operators involved in fatal accidents were known to have or were presumed to have consumed alcohol before their accidents. Like seat belts in automobiles, wearing a PFD greatly improves your chances of surviving a boating accident. The United States Coast Guard (USCG) reported that about 86 percent of victims who drowned as a result of boating accidents were not wearing PFDs.
"As record numbers of Americans hit the roads to celebrate this Independence Day, keep yourself and your family safe - buckle up, don't drink and drive, and always wear a PFD when on the water," Rosenker said.
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.