Ford Urges Drivers To Buckle Up & Avoid Alcohol While Driving Into "Deadliest Driving Season"
“The safety belt is the single most effective safety device in any vehicle and we as a company will keep encouraging safety belt use.” – Sue Cischke, vice president, Environment and Safety Engineering.
DEARBORN, Mich., May 25, 2006 - The Memorial Day weekend kicks off the beginning of summer days of fun, but according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it also kicks off the deadliest driving season of the year.
On average, 269 more people die in traffic fatalities each month during the summer than in any other season. Of the 25 deadliest days on American roads over the past five years, 20 of them fell during the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day. NHTSA research shows that increased drinking and driving during the summer months contribute to this being the most dangerous season on the road.
To help minimize the number of tragic accidents, Ford reminds drivers that impaired driving, speeding and a failure to always wear safety belts all contribute to fatal collisions and serious injuries.
NHTSA says 48 million U.S. motorists still don’t use safety belts regularly, even though thousands of lives could be saved. NHTSA recently kicked off its annual “Click it or Ticket” crackdown on violators over the Memorial Day period. Ads aimed at the unbelted motorists will air nationwide through June 4 in a $31 million bilingual campaign in English and Spanish. For the second year, the key target audience is drivers 18-34 years old, primarily males in rural areas who drive pickups – the group NHTSA says that is most likely not to wear safety belts.
“The safety belt is the single most effective safety device in any vehicle, and we as a company will keep encouraging safety belt use,” said Sue Cischke, vice president, Environment and Safety Engineering, Ford Motor Company. “Choosing to wear them can be a matter of life or death.”
A 2005 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report credited safety belts with preventing nearly 15,000 fatalities and about 350,000 serious injuries annually, making the safety belt one of the most important safety devices ever created.
One innovation from Ford, the BeltMinder™ system, features an audible beep that drivers continue to hear if they neglect to buckle up after the initial federally required belt reminder stops chiming. This beep is getting more people to buckle up, as data shows BeltMinder works. Research conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicates safety belt use was 5 percentage points higher in vehicles with BeltMinder than those without.
Ford is sharing its Beltminder technology with other automotive manufacturers and suppliers at no cost. To date, four other companies are leveraging the BeltMinder system.
“Our BeltMinder technology helps remind customers to buckle up,” said Cischke, “It’s a simple reminder that can make a great difference in saving lives. We’re proud to be at the forefront in developing innovations that enhance safety for our customers.”
In 2005, safety belt use reached an all-time high of 82 percent. Research provided by NHTSA indicates lap-shoulder belts, when used properly, reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passengers by 45 percent and reduce the risk of moderate to critical injury by half. NHTSA also reports 3,000 more lives could be saved and thousand of injuries prevented annually if the nationwide safety belt use rates climbed to 90 percent.
Ford Motor Company was the first automaker to offer safety belts in 1955, and the first to offer driver side BeltMinder at no cost to customers in 1999. By 2007, the system will be expanded to cover right front-passengers on all vehicles as a part of the company’s Personal Safety System.
In its continuing efforts to promote safe driving habits beyond buckling up, Ford’s Driving Skills for Life program concentrates on helping teens learn four key driving skills that Ford Motor Company, Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and safety experts believe have the most promise of preventing crashes: Hazard Recognition, Vehicle Handling, Speed Management, and Space Management. The program combines learning materials for use by students, parents, educators, and instructors for use at home, in schools and community settings.
Safety Belt facts
NHTSA Research on Safety Belts
* Research conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that if a belted occupant is involved in a rollover, his or her chances of survival are 10 times greater than unbelted occupants.
* Safety belt use rates have reached 82 percent in 2006, the highest level in the nation’s history. At that rate, NHTSA estimates that safety belts are preventing 15,700 fatalities, 350,000 serious injuries, and $67 billion in economic costs associated with injuries and deaths every year.
* Ford’s BeltMinder™ technology helps remind customers to buckle up. It’s a simple reminder that can make a great difference in saving lives.
* BeltMinder™ – Ford believes the single most important safety technology is the safety belt. In 1955, Ford was the first automaker to factory install front seat belts. Now, all Ford, Lincoln and Mercury passenger cars, light trucks and SUVs sold in the U.S. and Canada are equipped with BeltMinder, a technology that uses sound and a flashing icon to remind drivers to buckle up
* Ford first offered driver side BeltMinder at no cost to customers in 1999, and has licensed the technology to four other vehicle manufacturers at no cost. By 2007, Ford’s BeltMinder system will be expanded to cover right front-passengers on all Ford, Lincoln and Mercury passenger cars, light trucks and SUVs.
* Research conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety during 2001 showed that safety belt usage was 5 percentage points higher in vehicles with BeltMinder. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has cited the effectiveness of Ford’s BeltMinder technology, urging other automakers to install new technologies that encourage motorists to wear safety belts.
* The U.S. Congress recognizes the lifesaving potential of increasing safety belt use. In fact, the recently passed Federal Highway Bill includes a provision for the Department of Transportation to review safety belt use technology, including reminder systems like Ford’s Beltminder, with the goal of achieving even further gains in safety belt use.
Safety Belt Dos and Don’ts
* The lap belt or lap portion of the lap-shoulder belt combination should be adjusted so it is snug and low across the hips and pelvis — never across the stomach.
* The shoulder belt should cross the chest and collarbone and be snug. The belt should never cross the front of the neck or face. Do not add excessive slack (more than 1 inch) into the shoulder belt. If you have an automatic shoulder belt, the lap belt must be buckled manually.
* Do not place the shoulder belt behind your back — your upper body is not restrained, and injuries to the head and chest are likely.
* Do not wear the belt under your arm — the belt will ride over the lower part of your rib cage, which could break ribs and cause internal injuries.
- Contact Information
- Jennifer Moore
- Corporate News Manager
- Ford Motor Company
- Contact via E-mail
This news content was configured by WebWire editorial staff. Linking is permitted.
News Release Distribution and Press Release Distribution Services Provided by WebWire.