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Response to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Final 2002 Fatality Figures

The following is a statement by Judith Lee Stone, President of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety:

On June 26, 2003, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, under the leadership of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Ernest Hollings (D-SC), reported out a bi-partisan bill that will address the major causes of motor vehicle crashes.

Today's bad news is that traffic fatalities are the highest in 12 years. The good news is that the Senate is moving legislation that will bring down motor vehicle deaths and injuries in the near future.

The Senate Committee bill sets out a traffic safety agenda for the next six years that will result in actions on the solutions to stem the rising death and injury toll on our highways. Provisions in the legislation will require The US Department of Transportation to issue standards to prevent rollover, to mitigate the aggressivity of larger vehicles, to improve roof crush protection, to encourage seat belt use, to reduce head injury, to increase the safety of 15 passenger vans, to enhance motor carrier safety and to combat drunk driving with effective programs.

It is urgent that Congress enact this lifesaving legislation this year. Every year, more than 42,000 Americans are dying needlessly on our streets and highways. The McCain/Hollings bill is the public health answer to a public health crisis. Delaying enactment will result in denying the American public a long-overdue plan to attack the leading killer of children and adults.

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety is an alliance of consumer, health, law enforcement and safety groups and insurance companies and agents working together to make America's roads safer. Founded in 1989, Advocates encourages the adoption of federal and state laws, policies and programs that save lives and reduce injuries. Please visit Advocates' web site at