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Seat belts are the single most important safety feature in automobiles today. Their effectiveness is indisputable, with an estimated 12,713 lives saved nationwide in 2009 alone. Despite these facts, nearly one in five Americans fails to regularly wear a seat belt when driving or riding in a motor vehicle.
A seat belt enforcement campaign aimed at reducing the number of highway injuries and fatalities sustained due to non-belt use, the Click It or Ticket mobilization is conducted each year by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in conjunction with law enforcement agencies, state highway safety officials, and traffic safety advocates across the country.
Click It or Ticket – National
First conducted in 1993, Click It or Ticket began as an innovative occupant protection effort in the state of North Carolina. The campaign combined 3,000 enforcement checkpoints, paid advertising, and earned media to build public awareness about what would become one of the most recognizable safety campaigns ever launched. More than 58,000 citations were issued for seat belt violations in its inaugural year, increasing the state’s seat belt use rate from 65 to 81 percent in less than a year.
Since then, Click It or Ticket has evolved into nationwide, annual event that reinforces the importance of seat belt use among all motorists. Set to coincide with the Memorial Day holiday, high-visibility, increased, seat belt enforcement is conducted by law enforcement officers to reduce the number of lives lost on U.S. roadways. Supported each year with a multi-million dollar federal advertising campaign, the national Click It or Ticket campaign is credited with increasing the nation’s seat belt use rate to a record 85 percent.
Coast to coast, day or night, the message is simple - Click It or Ticket.
National Statistics (Data obtained from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
There were 23,382 occupants of passenger cars, pickup trucks, vans, and SUVs killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2009. Fifty-three percent of fatally injured passenger vehicle occupants were NOT wearing seat belts at the time of the crashes.
When used by passenger vehicle occupants 5 and older, seat belts saved an estimated 12,713 lives in 2009. Worn correctly, seat belts reduce the risk of fatal injury by 45 percent for front-seat passenger car occupants — and by 60 percent for pickup truck, SUV and van occupants.
Click It or Ticket – Indiana
Beginning May 20, officers from more than 260 state and local law enforcement agencies, including the Indiana State Police, will begin conducting high-visibility patrols to detect motorists who fail to buckle up.
Police will work overtime to patrols around the clock, however, there will be special attention focused on nighttime drivers. Research has shown that motorists are less likely to be restrained during nighttime hours, increasing their risk of death or injury in a collision by more than 40 percent.
While Indiana has reached a record high observed seat belt usage rate of 92.4% for all vehicles, not all Hoosiers are taking the use of seat belts seriously. According to the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI), there were 754 fatalities on Hoosier roadways in 2010. More than half of those (54 percent) were unrestrained.
A slogan familiar to motorists the world over, Click It or Ticket uses a combination of enforcement and public education to remind drivers that failing to buckle up will result in ticket – no exceptions. Hoosiers should keep in mind that the use of a seat belt or proper child restraint is required by Indiana law for every motor vehicle occupant.