(Host) Vermont law enforcement officials announced on Wednesday that they’ll be beefing up efforts to enforce the state’s seatbelt law in the coming weeks. The State of Vermont has been awarded a $565,000 federal grant to boost its seat belt compliance rate. Currently 67% of Vermont drivers use seat belts on a regular basis. State officials hope to boost this rate to 77% by the end of June.
The new plan features increased enforcement efforts and a media campaign. Speaking at a Montpelier press conference, the director of the National Highway Safety Administration, Dr. Jeffery Rungee, compared this issue to a medical disease:
(Rungee) "We know that if we could get everybody buckled up in America we would save 9,200 people a year from death and a hundred times that many in injuries would be reduced. If there were any other disease in this country that took this many lives of children and adults we would unleash every possible resource we could to curb it."
(Host) State Highway officials estimate that 75% of all traffic fatalities in Vermont involve a driver who’s not wearing a seat belt.