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Closing Statement - Rear Seat Safety in Passenger Vehicles Workshop, Washington, DC
T. Bella Dinh-Zarr, PhD, MPH
NTSB Conference Center, Washington, DC

​Thank you all once again for your efforts in the breakout sessions that led to an interesting summary session and some important takeaways.

Thanks also to our morning presenters for laying such a broad and deep foundation in such a brief period of time, and to the NTSB staff who have worked hard to bring you all together for this workshop.

A number of technological advances and research imperatives have been identified. Some of these are short-term opportunities that we can work towards achieving today. Others are long-term opportunities that will require a greater amount of collaboration, engineering, design, and advocacy to achieve. I am proud to have been a part of this workshop and it makes me feel hopeful, listening to your discussions, that there are practical, real world solutions – and that there are people like you who are working tirelessly to prevent these deaths and injuries.  Here at the NTSB, what we do is investigate crashes – often terrible ones – and your work gives us hope that we can prevent these crashes before they happen.

Today’s work will inform NTSB’s efforts to strengthen occupant protection going forward.   I also hope it will lead to more synergy and collaboration in your work moving forward.

You have provided us all with a glimpse of the rear seat of the future – a future in which everyone is belted and all rear-seat passengers benefit from the best technology and safest, most crashworthy environment possible.

Nevertheless, as some of you have reminded us, much of what we achieve will continue to rely on the choices that we all make. The single most important thing any of us can do is to buckle our seat belts on every trip, every time, and in every seating position.

If you have a child passenger, ensure that the child safety seat is age-appropriate and correctly installed. If your child is no longer in a booster seat, or you are driving an adult passenger, buckle up and remind all passengers, wherever they are sitting, to do the same.

Putting on a seat belt is the best way we each can take action today to protect ourselves, our friends, and our families in the event of a crash.

Before we adjourn, let’s take a moment to acknowledge the power and importance of collaboration and communication.  This is a tremendously complicated issue, so although this is the end of this workshop, let’s consider this the beginning of our work together.  I know that some of you already work together, which is wonderful, but I hope each of us can leave here today with one or two people we will work with in the future.  I know you will do you part and I pledge to do mine. Together we can make a difference to achieve our common goal of greater rear seat safety for everyone.

Thank you for coming today and safe travels home.