As National Traffic Fatalities Surge, States Focus on Seat Belt Safety

Resource Type

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 24, 2016

Contact: Kara Macek, kmacek@ghsa.org
202-789-0942 x140

As National Traffic Fatalities Surge, States Focus on Seat Belt Safety

Uber and GHSA partner to remind the public to buckle up in back

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Traffic fatalities are on the rise across the country, and could be up as much as 10 percent in 2015. Tragically, nearly 50 percent of those killed are not buckled. Amazingly, while seat belt use is the single most effective way people can protect themselves in the event of motor vehicle crash, more than one in 10 Americans still fail to regularly buckle up. And adult belt use rates in the back seat are even worse – 10 to 15 percentage points lower than in the front.

To increase seat belt usage and save lives, states are working with local law enforcement and other key partners as part of the annual Click It or Ticket mobilization, which coincides with the high volume of vehicle travel anticipated this Memorial Day weekend. States will employ creative messaging and social media to remind the public to Click It or Ticket.

This year, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is partnering with Uber to help increase belt use in the back seat. In select markets across the country, through media events, in-app notifications, and other creative means, Uber will be educating its riders about the importance of buckling up in back. Just yesterday, Uber’s “Under the Hood” blog addressed this important issue.

“Millions of rides happen daily on Uber, and that number increases during the busy Memorial Day weekend,” said Dorothy Chou, Uber’s Head of Public Policy for Safety, Privacy and Security. “Seats belts have revolutionized road safety and we’re thrilled to participate in the Click It or Ticket campaign to encourage drivers and riders to buckle up – every seat, every time.”

GHSA’s recent Spotlight report Unbuckled in Back: An Overlooked Issue in Highway Safety points to the need to boost rear seat belt use in for-hire vehicles. In 2013, nearly 900 unbuckled rear-seat passengers were killed; more than 400 of them would have likely survived had they worn their seat belt.

As report author Dr. Jim Hedlund notes: “Many people who regularly buckle up in their own cars and vans ignore the belts when they ride in taxis or other for-hire vehicles, but these vehicles don’t offer any magic protection in the event of a crash. As more people turn to Uber or other for-hire transportation alternatives, it is even more important to get them accustomed to buckling up every time they get into a car, in the front seat or the back.”

For more information on the Click It or Ticket campaign, visit www.nhtsa.gov/ciot.

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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, enhance program management and promote best practices. 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. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GHSAhq or follow us on Twitter @GHSAHQ.