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Health Agencies Update
November 26, 2003

Enhanced Food Security

JAMA. 2003;290(20):2655. doi:10.1001/jama.290.20.2655-a

More drivers would buckle up if they had more effective reminders to wear their seat belts, according to a new report by the National Academies' Transportation Research Board. Because the current 4- to 8-second belt reminder in some cars has proved ineffective, the board is urging the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to encourage the automotive industry to design better systems.

Preliminary research on the only long-duration reminder system currently in place, which chimes and flashes lights intermittently for up to 5 minutes, indicates that drivers in vehicles using this system increase their seat belt use by five percentage points compared with drivers of other vehicles. The report recommends that Congress give NHTSA authority to require better seat belt reminder technologies if the automobile industry does not do so voluntarily.

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