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U.S. seat belt use at record 79 percent

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WASHINGTON, Aug 25, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Transportation Department officials announced Monday seat belt use in the United States has reached 79 percent -- the highest level in the nation's history.

A survey by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows every region of the nation reported increases in belt during the past 12 months.

Officials credited the work of state highway safety offices, local law enforcement agencies, advocacy groups and public/private sector partners for the increase in belt use.

Safety experts say the increase in belt use this year will translate into more than 1,000 lives saved.

The June 2002 survey found nationwide belt use at 75 percent, with the highest seat belt usage in western states, at 84 percent.

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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