As part of the Bush Administration¿s ongoing effort to increase safety belt use nationwide, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will present its NHTSA's Administrator's Achievement Award to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the U.S. Air Force Demonstration Squadron "Thunderbirds" and the Autobody Group.

Two separate thrilling public service advertisements (PSA) featuring the
Thunderbirds in flight and another showcasing NASCAR racing and the LVMS were developed in collaboration with NHTSA to promote the national Click It or Ticket campaign. In a unique partnership approach, the Autobody Group generously underwrote and sponsored placement of these PSAs on local television in the Las Vegas market.

"Safety is President Bush¿s and Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta¿s top transportation priority," said Dr. Jeffrey Runge, NHTSA Administrator. "I commend the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the Thunderbirds and the Autobody Group for their commitment to promoting the Click It or Ticket campaign and to saving lives. This public-private partnership is model for the rest of the nation, showing how government and business can successfully work together to improve the health and safety of our citizens."

The Click It or Ticket campaign is supported by more than 150 national government and private organizations and thousands of local community advocates nationwide. The campaign focuses on reaching 18-34 year-old males, the demographic most likely to be injured or killed in a car crash and least likely to be buckled up. This demographic also makes up a significant part of the racecar industry¿s fan base.

Every year, Americans invest millions of dollars in auto collision repair. Now, one Las Vegas company is taking some of the dollars generated from fixing auto crashes and investing that money towards preventing them and saving lives. The Auto Body Group, an association of three collision repair centers headquartered in Henderson, NV, is sponsoring the public service announcements aimed at promoting safer streets this race season. The campaign kicked off earlier this year with a series of PSAs featuring the Air Force Thunderbirds aerial acrobatics team and the drivers of Champ Car Racing. Each of these initial spots promotes the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration¿s Click It or Ticket national campaign.

ABG Co-Owner Michael Spears says he sees a lot of crashes with injuries that could have been prevented by simply buckling up. "It¿s especially terrible when people don¿t buckle up their kids. A lot of people just don¿t think."

During his 25-year career in collision repair, Spears has seen the devastating results of hundreds of auto accidents, particularly during the holiday season. One thing Spears has come to appreciate over the years is the fact that, while auto bodies are easily fixed, human bodies are not.

Spears believes a public service campaign like ABG¿s is the least a business that generates its income from auto accidents can do for the community and he encourages others in the collision repair industry to launch similar efforts. However, one shouldn¿t think Spears¿ motives are entirely unselfish. "My wife and kids are on those streets, too. I want to keep them safe along with all my friends and family."

"The speedway¿s involvement in the Buckle Up America campaign is one of many ways that we are trying to promote highway safety and help keep the streets of Las Vegas a safer place for everyone," said Chris Powell, LVMS general manager. "This will be the third year of our Midnight Mayhem street racing program. While our intention in participating in these programs is to improve highway safety, we are grateful and appreciative of the recognition given to the speedway. We are especially honored to share this recognition with Nellis Air Force Base and the Thunderbirds."

Dr. Runge added, "If fans emulate their heroes and never start their vehicles without first buckling up, thousands of lives could be saved each year around the nation. In a message and logo rich race environment, the most valuable message fans could receive is ¿ Click It or Ticket."