[Federal Register Volume 65, Number 215 (Monday, November 6, 2000)]
[Notices]
[Pages 66582-66584]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 00-28344]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration


Child Passenger Protection Education Grants

AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, DOT

ACTION: Announcement of grants for child passenger protection 
education.

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SUMMARY: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 
announces a grant program under Section 2003(b) of the Transportation 
Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) to implement child passenger 
protection programs that are designed to prevent deaths and injuries to 
children, educate the public concerning the proper installation of 
child restraints, and train child passenger safety personnel concerning 
child restraint use. This notice solicits applications from the States, 
the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Territories and the 
Indian Tribes through the Secretary of the Interior.

DATES: Applications must be received by the office designated below on 
or before December 15, 2000.

ADDRESSES: Applications must be submitted to the appropriate National 
Highway Traffic Safety Administration Regional Administrator.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For program issues contact Ms. Joan 
Catherine Tetrault, State and Community Services, NSC-01, NHTSA, 400 
Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590; telephone (202) 366-2121. 
For legal issues contact Mr. John Donaldson, Office of the Chief 
Counsel, NCC-30, NHTSA, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590, 
telephone (202) 366-1834.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    Motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of unintentional 
injury-related deaths among children for every age from 6 to 14 years, 
despite an eight percent decline in the motor vehicle occupant death 
rate for children under age 15 from 1988 to 1999. During the same time 
period, the motor vehicle occupant nonfatal injury rate among children 
under age 15 has increased by seven percent. Motor vehicle injuries and 
fatalities occur when children ride unrestrained or are improperly 
restrained. This grant program is intended to help reduce injuries and 
deaths by educating the public about the importance of correctly 
installing and using child safety seats, booster seats and seat belts.

1. Children Riding Unrestrained

    Approximately 20-25 percent of children ages 1 through 15 years 
ride unrestrained. Child safety seats reduce the risk of fatal injury 
in a crash by 71 percent for infants (less than 1 year old) and by 54 
percent for toddlers (1-4 years old). In 1999, there were 550 occupant 
fatalities in passenger motor vehicles among children under 5 years of 
age. Of those 550 fatalities, an estimated 291 (53 percent) were 
totally unrestrained. The problem of riding unrestrained is not limited 
to infants and young children. From 1975 through 1999, the lives of an 
estimated 4,500 children were saved by the use of child restraints 
(child safety seats or adult safety belts). Among children under age 15 
who were killed as occupants in motor vehicle crashes in 1999, 61 
percent were not using safety restraints at the time of the collision.

[[Page 66583]]

    Examination of the demographics of children killed in motor vehicle 
crashes (for which the most recent available year is 1995) shows that 
safety restraint use differs markedly by race. For example, while 
somewhat less than half (43.3%) of white children up to age 9 riding in 
passenger motor vehicles were using safety restraints at the time of 
their deaths, that was true of only about one-quarter (28.2%) of black 
children. Native American children under age 15 have a motor vehicle 
occupant death rate twice that of white children. (Injury and fatality 
data for other minority groups is currently being collected.) Restraint 
use is also lower in rural areas and low-income communities. Lack of 
access to affordable child safety seats and booster seats contributes 
to a lower usage rate among low-income families. However, research 
shows that 95 percent of low-income families who own a child safety 
seat use it. Improving access to affordable child restraint systems and 
educating parents and care givers about proper installation and use are 
key components to improving use rates in these communities.

1. Misuse of Child Safety Seats and Improper Seating Positions

    In 1998, 97 percent of infants (children under age 1) were 
restrained while riding in motor vehicles, as were 91 percent of 
children ages 1 to 5. However, it is estimated that approximately 80 
percent of children who are placed in child safety seats are improperly 
restrained. Furthermore, adult safety belts do not adequately protect 
children ages 4 to 8 (about 40 to 80 pounds) from injury in a crash. 
Although car booster seats are the best way to protect them, only six 
percent of booster-age children are properly restrained in car booster 
seats.
    In addition, there is a high risk of severe injury or fatality to 
children riding in the front seat of vehicles equipped with a passenger 
side air bag, due to the deployment force of the air bag. However, even 
if the air bag is shut off or there is no air bag, the back seat is the 
safest place for children to ride. Under no circumstances should a 
parent place a rear-facing infant seat in front of an air bag. It is 
estimated that children ages 12 and under are 36 percent less likely to 
die in a crash if seated in the rear seat of a passenger vehicle.
    Child passenger safety professionals, educators, emergency 
personnel and others need to be adequately trained on all aspects of 
child restraint use in order to help reduce the problems of misuse and 
encourage the safest seating positions for children riding in motor 
vehicles. In addition, parents and caregivers need easily accessible 
locations where they can receive information on choosing the correct 
child safety seat for their child, and identifying which child safety 
seats are compatible with various types of passenger motor vehicles. 
Parents and caregivers also need to know how to properly install a 
child safety seat and how to properly secure their child into that 
seat.
    With these concerns in mind, the Transportation Equity Act for the 
21st Century (TEA-21), which the President signed into law on June 9, 
1998, established a grant program under Section 2003(b) of Title 23, 
United States Code, to promote child passenger protection education and 
training.

Grants for Child Passenger Protection

    Section 2003(b) provides Federal funds to States for activities 
that are designed to prevent deaths and injuries to children; educate 
the public concerning the design, selection, placement, and 
installation of child restraints; and train and retrain child passenger 
safety professionals, police officers, fire and emergency medical 
personnel, and other educators concerning all aspects of child 
restraint use. A State may expend the funds itself or elect to 
distribute some or all of the funds to carry out the public education 
and training activities as grants to political subdivisions of the 
State or appropriate private entities. States are encouraged to direct 
funds obtained through this grant program to organizations that can 
deliver training and education to ensure positive impact in minority 
and low income communities where lack of child passenger protection is 
especially severe. Section 2003(b) provides that the Federal share of 
the cost of a program carried out with the grant funds is not to exceed 
80 percent. A State that receives a grant must submit a report 
describing the program activities carried out with the funds.

Application Procedures

A. Use of Funds

    To be eligible for funding under Section 2003(b), a State must 
submit an application that addresses how the State will implement child 
passenger protection programs that meet each of the three requirements 
listed below. For the education and training components, the grant 
application must identify expected program accomplishments, such as the 
estimated number of public education messages to be distributed (e.g. 
public service announcements or printed materials) and the type of 
audience to be targeted by these messages (e.g. minority or low-income 
communities); the estimated number of and type of training classes 
conducted and the individuals or groups to be trained (e.g. 
representing minority, rural or low-income communities); the number of 
child safety seat clinics or check-ups performed; and the number of 
fitting stations established. A State is encouraged to identify the 
proposed locations of child safety seat clinics, check-ups and fitting 
stations, specifying the target population to be served.
    Specifically, the State must implement a child passenger protection 
program that:
    1. Is designed to prevent deaths and injuries to children. The 
State should provide a statement describing how its program supports 
efforts to prevent deaths and injuries to children.
    2. Educates the public on all aspects of child passenger safety. 
The public education program may include strategies that emphasize a 
continuum of child restraint from infancy to age 16, increase use among 
targeted populations (e.g., minority, rural, low-income, or special 
needs populations), or develop and implement child safety seat clinics 
and/or permanent locations where consumers can have child safety seats 
and booster seats inspected. Additional information under public 
education may be included relevant to proper use of child restraint 
systems, booster seats and FMVSS 225--a standardized child safety seat 
system known as Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH).
    At a minimum, the public education program must:
    (a) Provide a summary of the information that the State intends to 
include or develop in the public education program. The information 
must address at least the following topics:
     All aspects of proper installation of child restraints 
using standard seat belt hardware, supplemental hardware, and 
modification devices (if needed), including special installation 
techniques;
     Appropriate child restraint design, selection, and 
placement [NHTSA interprets this to include instruction about proper 
seating positions for children in air bag equipped vehicles]; and
     Harness threading and harness adjustment on child 
restraints.
    (b) Include a description of the public education information 
methods that the State intends to employ, how these messages will be 
delivered to the target population, and expected

[[Page 66584]]

accomplishments. The methods could include billboards, public service 
announcements, and published materials. It is also important to deliver 
this information in the language of the targeted group.
    3. Trains and retrains child passenger safety professionals, police 
officers, fire and emergency medical personnel, and other educators 
concerning all aspects of child restraint use. At a minimum, States 
should include in the application a description of or reference to the 
curricula that the State will use to train and retrain child passenger 
safety experts to reach the targeted population and expected 
accomplishments.
    All persons selected for training and retraining as child passenger 
safety professionals should achieve and maintain at least some minimum 
standards of expertise. In collaboration with several partners, NHTSA 
has developed several model curricula including: ``Mobilizing America 
to Buckle Up Children'' and ``Operation Kids'' for law enforcement 
officers; and the ``Standardized Child Passenger Safety Training 
Program'' for child passenger safety professional candidates. States 
are not restricted to using only these curricula, but States are 
encouraged to incorporate the learning objectives of these courses into 
the training and retraining provided to child passenger safety experts. 
Funding for this grant program is intended to help States develop and 
sustain adequate cadres of persons with technical expertise in child 
passenger protection who will directly serve the public through child 
safety seat clinics, checkpoints, workshops, fitting stations and other 
training and educational opportunities.

A. Certification

    The State must submit certifications that: (i) It will use the 
funds awarded under this grant program exclusively to implement a child 
passenger protection program in accordance with the requirements of 
Section 2003(b) of P.L. 105-178 (TEA-21); (ii) It will administer the 
funds in accordance with 49 CFR Part 18 and OMB Circular A-87; and 
(iii) It will provide to the NHTSA Regional Administrator no later than 
15 months after the grant award a report of activities carried out with 
grant funds and accomplishments to date.

B. Eligibility Requirements

    Eligibility is limited to the 50 States, the District of Columbia, 
Puerto Rico, the U.S. Territories (which include the Virgin Islands, 
Guam, American Samoa and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana 
Islands) through their Governor's Office of Highway Safety, and Indian 
Tribes through the Secretary of the Interior.

Award Procedures

    The amount available for this program in fiscal year 2001 is 
$7,500,000. In FY 2000, NHTSA awarded $7.5 million to 47 states, the 
District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, 4 U.S. Territories and the Indian 
Nations. A new application is required to seek an award of fiscal year 
2001 funds. Awards to applicants meeting the requirements of this 
notice will be made based upon the formula used for Section 402 
apportionment, subject to the availability of funds. The amount awarded 
to each State qualifying under this program shall be determined by 
multiplying the amount appropriated for this grant program for the 
fiscal year by the ratio that the amount of funds apportioned to each 
such State under 23 U.S.C. 402 for the fiscal year bears to the total 
amount of funds apportioned to all such States under Section 402 for 
such fiscal year. Applicants will be required to submit to NHTSA within 
30 days of notification that an award is made, a program cost summary 
(HS Form 217) obligating the Section 2003(b) funds to child passenger 
protection education programs. The Federal funding share may not exceed 
80% of the program cost, and States should clearly identify their share 
in the program cost summary (HS Form 217).
    Each State must submit one original and two copies of the 
application package to the appropriate NHTSA Regional Administrator. 
Only complete application packages submitted by a Governor's Highway 
Safety Representative and received on or before December 15, 2000 will 
be considered for funding in fiscal year 2001.

Report Requirements

    A State that receives a grant must submit a report describing the 
activities carried out with the grant funds and the accomplishments to 
date. The report must be submitted to the NHTSA Regional Administrator 
no later than 15 months after the grant is awarded.
    At a minimum, the report must contain the following:
    (a) Describe how the State's child passenger protection program is 
supporting efforts to prevent deaths and injuries to children.
    (b) For the education component, the report must identify program 
accomplishments, such as:
     A summary of the public education methods developed and 
how programs were delivered to the targeted population.
     The number of public education messages distributed (e.g. 
public service announcements or printed materials) and the type of 
audience targeted by those messages (e.g. minority or low-income 
communities);
     The number of child safety seat clinics or check-ups 
performed, and the number of fitting stations established. A State must 
also include the locations of child safety seat clinics, check-ups and 
fitting stations, specifying the target population served.
    (c) For the training component, the report must include:
     The number of and type of training classes conducted and 
the individuals or groups trained (e.g. representing minority, rural or 
low-income communities);
     A description of or reference to the curricula that were 
used to train and retrain child passenger safety experts.
     The number of child passenger safety technicians and 
instructors certified during the grant period.

NHTSA Publications Available To Support Public Education

    A number of NHTSA publications are available through the Traffic 
Safety Materials Catalog that address child passenger safety program 
topics. These materials may be ordered from the NHTSA web site at 
>HTTP://WWW.NHTSA.DOT.GOV or contacting the Media and Marketing 
Division, NTS-21 by fax at (202) 493-2062.

    Issued on: November 1, 2000.
Sue Bailey,
Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
[FR Doc. 00-28344 Filed 11-3-00; 8:45 am]
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