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GHSA News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 24, 2010

Contact: Jonathan Adkins
(202)789-0942, ext. 13
(202)669-9746, cell

States Launch Massive Seat Belt Use Crackdown

Highway Safety Offices Utilizing Digital Media, Rewards Programs to Drive Home Message

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, GHSA Chairman Vernon F. Betkey, Jr. is joining Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Administrator David Strickland to launch the national Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement campaign. The crackdown continues through June 6.

While seat belt use is at an all-time national high of 84 percent, far too many people continue to ride unbuckled. Overall in the United States, a whopping 55 percent of passenger vehicle occupant deaths in 2008 occurred to people unrestrained, and it is even worse at night. In 2008, more than 12,000 passenger vehicle occupants died in crashes at night, and nearly two-thirds of those were unbuckled. This dangerous trend is also reflected in state data. For example, in Illinois in 2009, the deadliest time on the roadways was between midnight and 2:59 a.m. During this time 106 people died, and only 23 percent of them were properly restrained.

To increase seat belt usage, states from coast to coast are conducting federally-funded seat belt enforcement zones and checkpoints. Those who do not buckle up will be given a ticket—no excuses and no exceptions. Federal and state-funded advertisements debuting today will remind the public to Click It or Ticket.

States are utilizing new and creative ways to spread the Click It or Ticket message. Multiple states are using social media such as Facebook and Twitter to promote enforcement efforts. In Utah, for example, the state’s newly created Facebook quiz asks fans to answer five questions to find out what kind of a driver they are. They are then asked to pledge to buckle up for a chance to win a $45 gift card – the cost of a seat belt citation in Utah. Some states are using targeted ads on video consoles such as Xbox.

Other states such as Arkansas, Delaware and Maryland have partnered with popular fast food chains to promote seat belt usage. In Arkansas, establishments display Click It or Ticket window clings and place stickers on all drive-thru orders. The restaurants also donate free drink coupons to those who are buckled up. In Maryland, 7-Eleven and Chick-Fil-A have donated gift cards to the state to distribute at seat belt checkpoints for those who are bucked up. These innovative approaches reward the public for being safe while not costing precious federal or state dollars.

A sampling of state activities is posted online at www.ghsa.org/html/projects/op/ciot/10.html.

State seat belt laws are available at: www.ghsa.org/html/stateinfo/laws/seatbelt_laws.html.

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The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA)® is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy and enhance program management. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit www.ghsa.org.