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U.S. DOT Targets 45 Million Unbuckled Americans

"Click it or Ticket" campaign aims to increase seat belt use.

by on May.24, 2010

A vast source of revenue comes from an estimated 45 million unbelted drivers.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood today announced that while seat belt use is at a record high 84% nationwide, 45 million Americans are still not using seat belts when riding in motor vehicles.

In an effort to increase belt use and save lives, the Secretary kicked off “Click It or Ticket,” a national “enforcement mobilization” that encourages all motorists to wear their seat belts – day and night. Drivers caught not wearing their seat belt run the risk of being ticketed.

LaHood says that on any given day about 38 people who are not buckled-up are killed in motor vehicle crashes, according to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In 2008, nearly 14,000 unbuckled passenger vehicle occupants lost their lives on U.S. roadways. Nearly half of them could have been saved if they had been belted.

“We’ve made great strides to get Americans to buckle up, but we must not rest on our laurels,” said Secretary LaHood. “Not wearing your seat belt is a serious, life-threatening practice. If you are one of the 45 million Americans who won’t buckle up, our Click It or Ticket enforcement mobilization will be looking for you.”

NHTSA statistics also show that those least likely to buckle-up are:  teens, young adults, males, nighttime riders,  motorists traveling on rural roads, and individuals traveling in pick-up trucks.

“Regular seat belt use is the single best way to protect yourself and your family in motor vehicle crashes,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland.

The “Click It or Ticket” campaign is set to run from May 24 through June 6, 2010. The mobilization, expected to involve more than 10,000 police agencies, is supported by $8 million in national advertising funded through Congress and coordinated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The ads, which will air in English and Spanish, generate awareness of the increased enforcement efforts and the increased chance of getting a ticket if you are not buckled up. Ads will be aired on television, radio, and online.