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The State

February 12, 1986

Deaths among vehicle occupants fell by almost 9% last month as contrasted to January, 1985, indicating that the state's new mandatory seat belt law, which went into effect Jan. 1, may be saving lives, the California Highway Patrol said. There were 217 such deaths last month, or 21 fewer than in January, 1985, a CHP preliminary count showed. The statistics are expected to be revised slightly when adjustments are made for previously unreported deaths and those declared to be non-traffic related, including heart attacks in vehicles. Most law enforcement jurisdictions are observing a 60-day grace period before issuing citations to motorists not wearing seat belts.

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