Seat Belt Safety Awareness Campaign Launched by NHTSA

This week, federal regulatory officials launched a seat belt safety awareness campaign, aimed at encouraging drivers to buckle up when they are on the roadway and promoting a strict zero-tolerance enforcement policy, which is designed to address the risking number of severe injuries and deaths due to auto accidents in the U.S. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicates that the 2016 national Click It or Ticket campaign began on May 16, and will include national advertisements designed to raise awareness about the importance of using a seat belt, as well as increased law enforcement efforts to ticket drivers who fail to buckle up.

The Click it or Ticket safety mobilization is “a simple idea that every driver and passenger should keep in mind: buckle up every time,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

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The annual campaign has proven to be an effective tool across the nation, with more drivers and occupants buckling up than ever before. However, recent NHTSA data suggests that almost half of passenger vehicle occupants who were killed in 2014 were not restrained, leaving room for improvement.

According to the NHTSA, seat belt use increased in the U.S. in 2014, to an all-time high of 88.5%. However, additional data collected from 2014 indicated that 21,022 passengers of motor vehicles were killed and more than 11,000 of those were not wearing a seat belt.

Male drivers or occupants specifically accounted for a disproportionate rate of fatalities where the individuals were not buckled. Specifically, the NHTSA data indicated that men accounted for 13 percent more of non-restrained fatalities.

An estimated 57% of passenger vehicle occupants not wearing seat belts were killed at night, in comparison to 41% killed during the daytime. The NHTSA data also indicated that passengers in the front seat were only slightly more prone to use seat belts than passengers traveling in the second or third rows.

Any non-restrained passenger faces potentially life threatening injuries in the event of a crash, however individuals in the front seats face fatal ejection risks.

With a nearly 10% increase in traffic related fatalities recorded in 2015, the NHTSA, the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), the Illinois State Police, the Chicago Police Department, and the Combined Accident Reduction Effort (CARE) and along with other state and local agencies will be joining efforts to enforce the Click it or Ticket campaign.

The DOT will be will be running a national advertising campaign from May 16 through June 5 to remind and inform drivers of the importance of seat belt use and will be encouraging local and state law enforcement agencies to adopt zero-tolerance seat belt use ticketing protocols from May 23, to June 5, 2016.

NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind encouraged the public during the May 12 press release by adding “before you even turn the key, make sure everyone in your car has their seat belt on, every trip, day and night.”

The DOT anticipates an estimated 63,000 lives have been saved in serious automobile crashes from 2010 to 2014 due to the use of seat belts. In 2014 alone, the agency anticipated nearly 13,000 lives were saved from bringing awareness to the subject and drivers and occupants taking seatbelt use seriously.


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