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NORTH CAROLINA CAPITOL TO BUCKLE UP

 NORTH CAROLINA CAPITOL TO BUCKLE UP
 RALEIGH, N.C., May 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Just three seconds could save


your life. That's how long it takes to buckle your seat belt.
 On May 19 the Governor's Highway Safety Program will kickoff its summer traffic safety campaign entitled "Operation Buckle Down," to convince North Carolina motorists to wear their safety belts.
 "Thousands of people are killed senselessly each year because they don't take time to buckle up," Governor Jim Martin said. "This should be a lesson to remind us to take a few moments to buckle our seat belts."
 The safety campaign will begin just before Memorial Day, which traditionally marks the beginning of the summer travel season.
 Policemen, emergency medical services personnel, civic organizations, law enforcement agencies and other seat belt advocates, will meet on the capitol grounds in Raleigh at noon to display a giant seat belt and talk about their experiences in working with people who have and have not worn their seat belts. The groups have joined forces to promote the use of passenger restraints and encourage motorists to buckle up. As part of the safety campaign, a 95 foot long, 60 foot high seat belt will be on display May 19 at the capitol.
 The GHSP's efforts are part of the national "Operation Buckle Down" campaign that combines heavy law enforcement with public information to achieve President Bush's transportation goal of 70 percent safety belt use by the end of this year.
 "In 1982 before any state had a mandatory seat belt use law, the national average for seat belt use was 11 percent," said N.C. Transportation Secretary Thomas Harrelson. "That figure has more than quadrupled since the mandatory use law was passed, but we still have a long way to go."
 GHSP Director Paul Jones credits increased law enforcement efforts and public information campaigns like "Operation Buckle Down" to help raise the seat belt use rate.
 "We want to stress everyone needs to wear a seat belt ... even if your car is equipped with air bags," Jones said. "Air bags are only effective in front-end collisions. You still need your seat belt."
 Jones also emphasized the importance of using child safety seats for young children. "Child safety seats can prevent deaths and injuries to small passengers, but they are only effective if they are used correctly."
 -0- 5/13/92
 /CONTACT: Yvette Ruffin, Governor's Commission on Highway Safety, N.C. Department of Transportation, 919-733-3083/ CO: Governor's Highway Safety Program, N.C. Department of
 Transportation ST: North Carolina IN: TRN SU:


CM -- CH011 -- 9795 05/13/92 14:58 EDT
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Date:May 13, 1992
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