Click It or Ticket: Enforcing the law to save lives
By Anna Edwards May 19, 2015
If there is one thing I could urge all motorists—drivers, passengers, front seat, back seat, all ages—to do every time you get in a vehicle, it’s buckle up. It is the single most effective way to avoid being killed in a crash. Would you ever ride a roller coaster without the harness down? Would you ever skydive without a parachute?
When you ride in a motor vehicle without a seat belt, you are taking a huge risk. One you can’t afford. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2013, there were 9,580 unbelted vehicle occupants killed in crashes on our nation’s roads. In Wyoming, 96 unbelted vehicle occupants died in 2014.
This May 18-31, Wyoming law enforcement agencies are joining NHTSA and law enforcement agencies nationwide for the 2015 Click It or Ticket enforcement mobilization. Officers will be out in full force, cracking down on seat belt violations, issuing citations to anyone caught traveling without a buckled seat belt or transporting unrestrained children. They are determined to get the message across: Seat belts save lives.
In fact, from 2008 to 2012, law enforcement efforts have saved nearly 63,000 lives. And in 2012, an additional 3,031 lives could have been saved if all unrestrained occupants involved in fatal crashes had worn their seat belts.
May is a very effective time to ramp up seat belt enforcement efforts. Many motorists travel over Memorial Day weekend, which kicks off the busy summer travel season. It’s the perfect time to remind everyone why seat belt use is required by law. And we want people to know: we’re not cracking down to write tickets. We’re doing it to save lives.
Here are some startling facts:
- Young adults seem to think they are invincible in vehicles. As a result, they are dying at a disproportionate rate because they are not wearing their seat belts.
- Pickup truck occupants think that they don’t need to wear their seat belts because they believe their large vehicles will protect them in a crash. Unfortunately, 63 percent of pickup truck occupants who were killed in crashes were not buckled up (compared to 43 percent of passenger car occupants).
- Almost twice as many men are dying in vehicle crashes compared to women, and wearing their seat belts less than women.
- More people are being killed in nighttime crashes than ever before. In 2013, about 59 percent of passenger vehicle occupants were killed during the nighttime hours of 6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m. who were not wearing their seat belts.
Next time you head out on the road; make sure you and everyone in your vehicle are buckled up. Don’t just do it to avoid a ticket, do it so you arrive at your destination safely. Please remember, day and night, Click It or Ticket.
Anna Edwards is the grant coordinator for the Safe Communities program at Wyoming Medical Center. She has more than 10 years of experience in nonprofit program development and management. She is the mother of a very active toddler. When she’s not running after her daughter, Anna spends her time reading, gardening and managing her growing obsession with yarn. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (307) 577-7904. Learn more about Click or Ticket mobilization at www.nhtsa.gov/ciot.