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Brain Injury Information

HB 0383, AN ACT relative to passenger restraints

Message from Elaine Frank, Injury Prevention Center

Unfortunately we ran out of time and the political will to pass a Seat Belt Law again this year! I know that many of you share my frustration with this.

We did make progress this time around – we got the support of the leadership in both houses; we engaged a much broader and deeper Coalition; we had positive media attention and great input on blogs, Letters to the Editor from people we don’t even know; and, I believe, we convinced many that the decision NOT to use a seat belt has implications far beyond the individual’s choice and that preventing brain injuries should be everyone’s objective!

A special thanks to Sally Kelly, our Prime Sponsor, who took far more heat and put in far more hours than she every would have expected – and managed to laugh almost every day!

We will continue our work at keeping the facts and the importance of this issue in the forefront. And doing what we can, every day, to get NH buckled up!

Message from Ellen Edgerly, Brain Injury Association of New Hampshire

I am sorry to share with all of you that HB 0383, AN ACT relative to passenger restraints, was voted down on the Senate Floor on April 29, 2009. I am very disappointed that our senators could not support such a worthwhile piece of brain injury prevention as this.

Unfortunately the legislative process can be very long, tedious and disappointing at times. It can also be very exciting when legislation is passed in knowing that "we" as citizens of our great State of New Hampshire have impacted the legislative process through our experiences and challenges of brain injury!

As I have told all of you over the years that often it takes numerous attempts before we are able to educate and be successful in passing good Brain Injury Public Policy for the citizens of New Hampshire. Our past legislative experiences have proven that for us to be successful that we need to continue to go back to the legislature to let our voices be heard!

As a representative of the Brain Injury Association of New Hampshire when I go out in the community and talk about survivors and their families I use the description of perseverance - "to persist in anything undertaken in spite of difficulty or obstacles". I will then proceed to say that this definition is true to our community.

Thank you for taking the time to write letters to legislators, making telephone calls to legislators, to attend public legislative hearings, write letters to the editor of your newspapers, talk on radio programs and to be allowed to be personally interviewed. I realize that at times it is not easy to put yourself out in the eye of the public and share your personal stories but you still continue to do so.

In closing, the vote did not turn out the way that we would have wanted it to. Keep in mind that we could not have done anything different to change the vote. We provided the brain injury facts and statistics along with the personal experiences and challenges from the perspective of survivors and families. If anything, we continue to educate the legislators of New Hampshire about brain injury.

The senators stated that they heard from a lot of individuals who opposed this bill and also from a lot of individuals who supported the bill. Next time when we speak in front of the legislature, let’s change the message of brain Injury of being a “silent epidemic” and from now on let your voices be heard.

A special acknowledgement to Lead Sponsor Sally Kelly and Sponsors Rep. Peter Bergin, Rep. Harding, Rep. Ingersoll, Rep. Jennifer Brown, Sen. Martha Fuller Clark, Sen. Harold Janeway, Sen. Molly Kelly for their work and commitment in supporting individuals with brain injuries and their families.

Thank you for all of your help and I look forward to working with all of you in the future.