WASHINGTON, D.C. — In an effort to increase seat belt use and save lives, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood 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 announced that while seat belt use is at a record high of 84 percent nationwide, 45 million Americans are still not buckling up when riding in motor vehicles.
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 alone, 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.
NHTSA statistics also show that those least likely to buckle up are teens, young adults, males, nighttime riders, motorists traveling on rural roads and people traveling in pick-up trucks.
The Click It or Ticket campaign is set to run from May 24 through June 6. 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 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 for those not buckled up. Ads will be aired on television, radio and online.