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GHSA News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 30, 2009

Contact: Jonathan Adkins
(202)789-0942, ext.13
(202)669-9746, cell

On Wisconsin! Badger State Becomes 30th to Enact
Critical Seat Belt Law

New Text Message Bans Also Taking Effect

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) congratulates the State of Wisconsin for its passage of a primary seat belt law. This law gives police the authority to pull over a driver solely for not wearing a seat belt. Wisconsin becomes the 30th state to enact this lifesaving law. Based on other states' experiences, Wisconsin can expect its seat belt usage rate to increase 8-12 percentage points and its highway injury and death numbers to significantly decline. Wisconsin joins Florida, Arkansas and Minnesota in passing primary seat belt laws in 2009. All of these laws are now in effect.

On July 1st, new restrictions related to text messaging while driving go into effect in several states. Texting while driving becomes illegal for all drivers in Tennessee, Virginia and Utah. Novice drivers with a provisional or learner's permit will be banned from text messaging while driving in Mississippi. Cell phone and texting while driving restrictions take effect in a number of other states later this year.

GHSA reminds the public that law enforcement will be out in full force this holiday weekend. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, July 3 and July 4 are historically the deadliest days on our roadways. To remedy this, GHSA members, who are the State Highway Safety Offices, are working with police to crack down on drunk drivers, seat belt law violators, speeders and others who drive dangerously. Numerous states are conducting "100 Days of Heat" enforcement crackdowns to provide additional enforcement during the deadly summer driving season.

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State highway safety laws are posted online at www.ghsa.org/html/stateinfo/index.html.

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA)® is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy and enhance program management. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit www.ghsa.org.