From 2006 to 2010, seat belts saved the lives of more than 69,000 people in motor vehicle crashes. However, if all passenger vehicle occupants aged 5 and older in 2010 had worn seat belts, an estimated 3,341 more lives could have been saved.
More Americans than ever are connecting the dots. They understand that seat belts are a major factor in whether crash victims survive or perish, so they're doing the smart thing and buckling up. And in 2011, 84 percent of vehicle occupants used their seat belts.
That's a pretty good rate--well above 1994's 58 percent--but we can do better.
So, as the summer driving season gathers steam and Memorial Day Weekend approaches, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and its law enforcement agency partners across the country are launching their annual Click It Or Ticket mobilization effort.
Through the next two weeks, approximately 10,000 officers will be out in force making our roads safer by writing tickets to unbelted drivers.
The goal is to get the target audience for these ads--men aged 18 to 34--to see how ridiculous it is to pretend to wear a seat belt when wearing one is an easy way to stay safe. As NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said, “If you try a seat belt fake-out, chances are you are going to get caught. Law enforcement officers are trained to spot unbelted drivers at any time of day—and they do not issue fake tickets.”
In the past five years, Click It Or Ticket efforts have resulted in more than 3 million seat belt citations. If even a handful of those people are now buckling up every trip, every time, then this annual mobilization is saving lives.
And for that, I offer my deepest gratitude to the officers and agencies performing the front line duty. It's important, and it works.