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Test Dummies Crash Smithsonian Museum

Though now outmoded, The U.S. Department of Transportation thinks "Vince and Larry" crash-test dummy costumes and related auto safety items should be preserved. These objects -- once part of the popular culture vernacular -- will now become part of the permanent collection of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington, DC.

"We learned a lot from Vince and Larry about the importance of buckling up," said Secretary LaHood at a ceremony in Washington, DC. "They are a part of American culture and became household names while educating the public on seat belt use. Their message still holds true today."

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) promoted highway safety through a series of public service television spots, which aired on TV and radio in the late 90s, starring actors dressed up as talking crash test dummies, known affectionately as Vince and Larry. The campaign used slapstick humor and comical antics to remind people of the importance of wearing seat belts.

According to NHTSA, high-visibility campaigns such as "Vince and Larry" have paid off: today more than 84 percent of Americans wear seat belts before operating -- or being a passenger in -- a vehicle.

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