NHTSA kicks off 'Click It or Ticket' campaign as traffic fatalities rise
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CHICAGO – Today, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (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) joined together to kick off the 2016 national Click It or Ticket safety mobilization. The annual safety campaign is designed to urge all occupants to always buckle their safety belts while they ride in vehicles on America’s roadways.

“It’s a simple idea that every driver and passenger should keep in mind: buckle up, every time,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Putting on your seat belt is one of the easiest and safest choices you can make.”

The national seat belt use rate has steadily increased to 88.5 percent in 2014, but data from NHTSA show that almost half of passenger vehicle occupants (49 percent) who were killed in 2014 were unrestrained. In addition, 57 percent of passenger vehicle occupants killed at night were not wearing their seat belts, compared to 41 percent killed during daytime. In 2014, men wore their seat belts at a lower rate than women did – 53 percent of men in fatal crashes were unbelted, compared to 40 percent of women.

“We have made enormous progress as a nation in increasing seat belt use, but far too many people are still dying because they are not buckled up during crashes,” said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind. “Before you even turn the key, make sure that everyone in your car has their seat belt on, every trip, day and night.”

Law enforcement agencies will be out in full force encouraging drivers and all passengers to wear their seat belts.

“The Click It or Ticket safety campaign continues to be an effective tool to help change the attitudes of many occupants who do not use their seat belts,” said Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, First Vice President Jim Kruger. “So let me remind everyone that police will be mobilizing day and night to crack down on anyone who violates the seat belt law. If you choose not to wear your seat belt, you will receive a ticket.”

At 94 percent, Illinois has one of the highest state seat belt usage rates, but there are still individuals who do not wear seat belts.

Thousands of Americans are alive today because a seat belt saved them during a crash. In 2014, the use of seat belts in passenger vehicles saved an estimated 12,802 lives. From 2010 to 2014, seat belts saved an estimated 63,000 lives.

The Click It or Ticket nationwide mobilization will include a paid advertising campaign, which runs from May 16-June 5, and an enforcement period, which takes place from May 23-June 5.