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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 21, 2019
Press Release: 19-0055
Contact: Tammy Kramer, Governor's Highway Safety Representative, Alaska Highway Safety Office Manager
Phone: (907) 465-8944, Email: tammy.kramer@alaska.gov

Thankful for Seat Belt Safety:
Alaska Achieves a 94.1% Seat Belt Usage Rate

(JUNEAU, Alaska) – According to the 2019 Alaska Occupant Protection Use Survey Report, Alaska’s Observed Seat Belt Usage (OSU) rate is 94.1%, which is up from 91.6% in 2018. The success comes as no surprise to Tammy Kramer, Manager of the Alaska Highway Safety Office and multiple NHTSA-funded grants. “Our transportation and public safety professionals have been working diligently to implement heightened public education campaigns and high-visibility enforcement interventions throughout the state. These efforts are clearly having an impact and indicate that Alaskans are taking occupant safety more seriously. We’re excited to see this positive change and hope it continues through the busy holiday season, especially during Thanksgiving, one of the busiest times for America’s roads,” Kramer said.

With millions of drivers traveling for Thanksgiving dinner, it’s more important than ever to stress the importance of seat belt safety. To keep drivers and their passengers safe, The Alaska Highway Safety Office is partnering with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to share an important lifesaving reminder: Buckle Up — Every Trip. Every Time.

“Whether you are driving 10 minutes to the Thanksgiving dinner table, or 10 hours, it is critical that drivers and passengers Buckle Up — Every Trip, Every Time,” said Commissioner John MacKinnon, Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF). “At DOT&PF and the Highway Safety Office, we want everyone to have a safe and happy Thanksgiving, so please, make sure everyone in your vehicle is buckled before you even turn on the car.”

“All Alaskans are important to us. One death on Alaska’s roads is too many,” said Commissioner Amanda Price, Department of Public Safety. “Wearing your seat belt, and encouraging your friends and family to do so as well, increases the chances for surviving a collision not just during the holidays but year-round.”

During the 2017 Thanksgiving weekend (6 p.m. Wednesday, November 22, to 5:59 a.m. Monday, November 27), 365 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes nationwide. Nighttime proved even more deadly, with 57% of Thanksgiving weekend crashes occurring at night. Much like drunk driving, these deaths represent needless tragedies for families across America. These deaths could have been completely prevented with the simple click of a seat belt.

For more information about the Alaska Highway Safety Office, please visit https://bit.ly/2qzqGz0.

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities oversees 239 airports, 10 ferries serving 35 communities, more than 5,600 miles of highway and 776 public facilities throughout the state of Alaska. The mission of the department is to “Keep Alaska Moving through service and infrastructure.”

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