This memorandum is to notify you of the Department of Justice's policy on seat belt use.
President Clinton signed Executive Order (EO) 13043,|2153 "Increasing Seat Belt Use in the United States," on April 16, 1997. Federal agencies are required to implement the EO which requires federal employees to use seat belts while on official business; requires motor vehicle occupants to use seat belts in national park areas and on Department of Defense (DOD) installations; encourages Tribal Governments to adopt and enforce seat belt policies and programs for occupants of motor vehicles traveling on highways in Indian Country; and encourages federal contractors, subcontractors, and grantees to adopt and enforce on-the-job use policies and programs.
It is the policy of the Department of Justice that:
- All Department of Justice (DOJ) employees occupying any seating position in a motor vehicle on official business, whose seat is equipped with a seat belt, must have the seat belt properly fastened at all times when the vehicle is in motion. See paragraph f. below for possible exceptions for employees engaged in mission-related protective or law enforcement duties.
- DOJ employees are expected to comply with applicable seat belt requirements which have been imposed by competent authority when traveling in national park areas, on DOD installations, on highways in Indian Country, and to comply with applicable seat belt usage requirements issued by state or local authorities.
- In contracts, subcontracts, and grants, entered into after the date of this memorandum, Department officials shall encourage contractors, subcontractors, and grantees to adopt and enforce on-the-job seat belt policies and programs for their employees when operating company-owned, rented, or personally owned vehicles.
- Where feasible, Department components are encouraged to consider retrofitting motor vehicles not presently equipped with seat belts and, when purchasing or leasing such vehicles in the future, to require they be fitted with seat belts.
- The Secretary of Transportation is responsible for submitting an annual report to the President which includes seat belt use rates and statistics of crashes, injuries, and related costs, and other matters relating to the implementation of the seat belt initiative. Department components are expected to provide information when so requested which assists in the preparation of a Department wide report.
- Consistent with security and personal safety considerations, component heads shall have the discretion to determine how this seat belt policy will be applied while their employees are engaged in mission-related protective or law enforcement duties. Within 90 days from the date of this memorandum, component heads are requested to develop written guidance which implements the Department's seat belt policy, including provision for conducting education, awareness, and other appropriate programs for employees about the importance of wearing seat belts. With the exception of provisions under paragraph c. above, this policy applies to employees of the Department and not to prisoners or detainees. However, component heads may, under the provisions of this paragraph, require prisoners or detainees to use seat belts if a vehicle used to transport them is so equipped, or to retrofit a vehicle with seat belts for the use of prisoners or detainees.
If you have any questions regarding this policy, please contact me on 616-6900.
[updated June 1998] [cited in USAM 3-13.530]