The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an agency in the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT), recently launched its annual Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement campaign to remind motorists across the country that seat belts save lives (U.S. Department of Transportation Announces Click It or Ticket Enforcement Mobilization).
“Seat belts save thousands of lives each year,” United States Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao said. “And the Department’s Click It or Ticket initiative is a critical reminder that drivers should wear a seat belt every time they get behind the wheel.”
The Click It or Ticket promotion combines enhanced enforcement of state seat belt laws with an $8 million national advertising campaign on television, radio, the internet, and social media in both English and Spanish to raise public awareness. The campaign features three weeks of advertisements from November 9-29, 2020, and the seat belt enforcement mobilization is in effect from November 16-29, 2020.
“Seat belts save lives – but only if they’re worn,” NHTSA Deputy Administrator James Owens said. “Click It or Ticket reminds everyone to wear their seat belt every trip, every time, and officers will be patrolling our roads to enforce these lifesaving laws.”
Extensive research has proved the effectiveness of seat belts. In 2017 alone, seat belts saved nearly 15,000 lives. In the 5-year period from 2013 to 2017, seat belts saved approximately 70,000 lives.
In 2018, almost half of the 22,697 people killed in passenger vehicle crashes were not wearing seat belts – 52% of men and 39% of women. The National Occupant Protection Use Survey has found that seat belt usage by males (87.7%) continues to lag behind usage by females (92.0%).
Nearly 60% of young adults 18 to 34 killed in automobile accidents in 2018 were completely unrestrained. As a result, the Click It or Ticket campaign particularly targets young men in this age group, who research shows are among the least likely people to wear seat belts.
Through the enforcement of vehicle performance standards and partnerships with state and local governments, the NHTSA attempts to reduce deaths, injuries, and economic losses from motor vehicle crashes. Encouraging seat belt usage is certainly worthy of that effort, but it is regrettable that the transportation industry itself is more focused on maximizing its own profits than guaranteeing the safety of American motorists.