Thank you, Chuck. I am pleased to be here today representing the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) as part of our ongoing partnership with the Air Bag and seat Belt Safety campaign. We support these mobilizations because they get results – they get people to buckle up and they save lives.
I am especially pleased to see that our U.S. military forces are focusing on increasing seat belt use – and I want to recognize the Marines for once again leading the charge. As we have heard this morning, our servicemen and women – like all our citizens – are needlessly vulnerable to death and injury when they ride unbuckled.
Young service members – typically men ages 18 to 25 - typify the high-risk driver and low rate seat belt user. Also, young men in this age group tend to take unnecessary risks. The statistics General Nyland shared with us today show that it is the same regardless of whether the young man is in the military or not.
Young people think they are invulnerable. So for many of these young people, the risk of injury or death in a car crash does not seem very real. The threat of receiving a ticket is a more powerful incentive to buckle up because they don’t want a traffic ticket – and the penalties it may trigger. That is why these enforcements have proven to be an effective deterrent for people of all ages.
I want to thank and lend my support to the tens of thousands of law enforcement officers who will be out on the roads this week, especially the military police. We ask law enforcement to do some of our toughest jobs, and I want to recognize them.
Nothing is more important to the safety of the nation, and its citizens this holiday week than the effort that we are initiating here today. The NTSB is proud to be a partner with the Airbag and Seat Belt Safety Campaign, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Armed Forces, and the law enforcement community across America to support the efforts to reduce the unnecessary loss of life on our nation’s streets and highways.