Most Americans support police enforcement of seat belt laws, according to a Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) survey released by U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater.
The survey by BTS, an agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), reported that 90 percent of the people questioned agreed or strongly agreed that it is important for police to enforce the seat belt laws. The random survey of 1,000 households has a margin of error of two percentage points.
The BTS Omnibus Survey collects information monthly from randomly selected households about the transportation system, how it is used, and how it is viewed. It is intended to determine the general public's satisfaction with the nation's transportation system and to help set priorities for improvements. Results from the latest survey as well as earlier surveys are available on the BTS website at http://www.bts.gov.
According to DOT's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seat belts reduce the risk of fatal injury by 45 percent and reduce the risk of serious injury by 50 percent, yet nearly one-third of all Americans still do not buckle up.
In October, Secretary Slater announced that 36 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico will share $47.3 million in incentive grants for increasing seat belt use. Fiscal Year 2001 is the third year that incentive grants have been awarded for increasing seat belt use rates.
Forty-nine states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico now
have seat belt use laws, and just over one-third provide for
standard enforcement procedures. Standard enforcement allows a
police officer to stop a vehicle and issue a citation when the
officer observes an unbelted driver or passenger.
U.S. TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY SLATER ANNOUNCES NEW HEAD RESTRAINT PROPOSAL
In an effort to improve occupant protection in rear-end collisions, U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater proposed a new safety standard to upgrade the present requirement for head restraints for passenger cars, light multipurpose vehicles, trucks and buses.
The proposal by the department's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) would establish higher minimum height requirements for head restraints and add a requirement limiting the distance between a driver or passenger's head and the head restraint.
NHTSA's data show that neck injuries occur more frequently in rear-impact crashes. The changes to head restraints required by the proposal would reduce the number of neck injuries by an estimated more than 14,000 a year.
The proposal also would extend the requirements for head restraints to rear outboard seating positions, establish new strength requirements for head restraints, and place limits on the size of gaps and openings in head restraints. In addition, it would modify compliance test procedures.
The proposal is in NHTSA's Docket No. 2000-8570 and the Jan. 4,
2001, Federal Register. Interested parties who wish to comment on
the proposal should do so by March 5, 2001. Comments should be
sent in writing to Docket Management, Room PL-401, 400 Seventh
Street, S.W., Washington, DC 20590. Comments may also be
submitted to the docket electronically by logging onto the
department's Dockets Management System web site at
OSHA ISSUES CITATIONS TO ELECTRIC COMPANY FOR ALLEGED WORKPLACE SAFETY AND HEALTH VIOLATIONS FOLLOWING DEATH OF WORKER
OSHA has issued citations alleging two willful safety violations to Harlan Electric Company, Detroit, Mich., with proposed penalties totaling $140,000.
According to Deborah Zubaty, OSHA's area director in Columbus, Ohio, a safety inspection was initiated at a Harlan Electric Company job site in Columbus on June 29, 2000, after an accident. An employee died from injuries which resulted from an electrical arc blast during the installation of a ground wire on a pole. The conductor was energized with 7,620 volts phase to ground, 13,200 volts phase to phase.
The alleged willful violations include failure to train employees on procedures and hazards related to working within two feet of energized power lines, failure to maintain safe approach distances to energized lines, and failure to insulate or guard energized parts.
OSHA defines a willful violation as one in which the employer either knowingly failed to comply with a legal requirement or acted with plain indifference to employee safety.
Zubaty said that Harlan Electric Company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to contest the citations and proposed penalties with the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The company may also request an informal hearing with the OSHA area director.