President Clinton’s health care/injury Secretary of Transportation Federico The Department of Transportation
control proposal calls for increased Peña has set tough goals for will meet Secretary Peña’s highway
responsibility for health and safety. increasing safety belt use and safety/health and injury control goals
Further improvements in highway decreasing impaired driving; the two by working with states,
safety will assist in the national effort actions that hold the most promise of communities, and private
to reduce health care costs. saving lives, preventing injuries, and organizations to encourage strict
About 40,000 people die in traffic reducing traffic-related health care enforcement of state seat belt and
crashes each year and five million and other economic costs. anti-impaired driving laws, and
are injured. Each day 107 people Secretary Peña has set a goal for the through intense public information
die from traffic crashes. (In nation to reduce alcohol-related activities to alert Americans to the
comparison, about 25,000 murders fatalities by 6,000 annually by the savings in lives and dollars that will
and one million aggravated assaults year 2005. Reaching this goal accrue from these activities.
occur each year.) would save American taxpayers
Traffic crashes are the leading cause $1.4 billion in health care costs
of death for people between the (adding related injuries).
ages of six and 28. He has also set a goal of increasing
Motor vehicle crashes cost the safety belt usage to 75 percent by Seat Belts:
nation $137 billion annually, 1997. Increasing seat belt usage in Lifesavers on our
including $14 billion in health care passenger cars alone to 75 percent
costs ($3.7 billion of which is paid would save 1,700 lives and many
times that number of injuries.
directly by taxpayers). The cost to
employers is $37 billion each year. Health care costs would be reduced
A total of $35,000 in health care by $684 million ($180 million of
costs is saved for each serious injury which is publicly funded) and
that is prevented. In comparison, another $328 million would be
crime of all sorts costs the nation saved in income taxes and
$19 billion each year. public assistance.
November 1995 U.S. Dept. of Transportation