Baton Rouge --- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wants 90 percent of the population to practice safety belt usage by the year 2005.  To begin that goal, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is advising state health departments to spend Buckle Up America Week, May 19 through 26, encouraging teens and young adults to fasten their belts. 

“Buckling a seat belt is an easy step to take when you get into a car, and studies have proven it is one of the most effective tools in preventing fatalities in car accidents,” said Secretary David W. Hood. “If all teens and young adults began practicing proper seat belt usage, this would substantially lower the number of motor vehicle-related deaths.” 

According to CDC statistics, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens and young adults, and people this age have very low safety-belt usage rates.  The Department of Health Office of Public Health is promoting safety-belt usage among teens and young adults to lower their risk of death or injury. 

“The issue is quite simple: seat belts save lives,” said Col. James E. Champagne, Governor’s representative and executive director of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission. “We encourage all motorists to buckle up at all times. Memorial Day is the unofficial start of the summer driving season and with this comes the increased risk of being involved in a crash. That’s why we’re placing special emphasis on this holiday period.” 

For more information about motor-vehicle safety and proper seat belt usage, please visit, or the CDC Web site,