As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches and more drivers hit the roads, the Acadiana Regional Transportation Safety Coalition is reminding all drivers of the importance of seat belt use.
This annual campaign is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s national Click It or Ticket high-visibility enforcement effort that runs from November 16-29, 2020. Aimed at enforcing seat belt use to help keep people safe, the national seat belt campaign runs concurrent with this busy travel season.
“During the Click It or Ticket campaign, we’ll be working with our law enforcement officers across local lines to ensure the seat belt safety message gets out to all drivers and passengers,” said Ron Czajkowski, Acadiana Safety Coalition Coordinator. “By far, buckling up is the simplest thing you can do to limit injury or save your life during a crash. We see the results of not wearing a seat belt all the time. We see the loss of life and devastating injuries that could’ve been prevented with the simple click of a seat belt. That’s why buckling up is more than just a good idea—it’s the law.”
According to NHTSA, in 2018, there were 9,778 unbuckled passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in the United States. In that same year, 56 percent of passenger vehicle occupants killed at night (6 p.m.–5:59 a.m.) were not wearing their seat belts.
That’s why one focus of the Click It or Ticket campaign is nighttime enforcement. Participating law enforcement agencies will be taking a no-excuses approach to seat belt law enforcement, writing citations day and night. Parents should also remember to follow the recent changes in the child passenger laws, requiring children to be restrained in rear facing seats, in booster seats, and in the rear vehicle seats until certain ages.
Visit https://www.lahighwaysafety.org/Pages/OurPrograms/ChildPassengerSafety.aspx to ensure that your child is properly restrained while riding in a vehicle. For more information on the Click It or Ticket mobilization, please visit www.nhtsa.gov/ciot.
Face the Facts:
· The Lafayette seat belt use rate in 2019 was 91.1 percent, which is good—but we can do better. The other 8.7 percent still need to be reminded that seat belts save lives.
· Among young adults 18 to 34 killed in crashes in 2018, more than half (58%) were completely unrestrained—one of the highest percentages for all age groups.
· Men make up the majority of those killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes. In 2018, 65 percent of the 22,697 passenger vehicle occupants who were killed were men. Men also wear their seat belts at a lower rate than women do—52 percent of men killed in crashes were unrestrained, compared to 39 percent of women killed in crashes.
Bust the Myths:
· Vehicle type: There seems to be a misconception among those who drive and ride in pickup trucks that their large vehicles will protect them better than other vehicles would in a crash. The numbers say otherwise: 59 percent of pickup truck occupants who were killed in 2018 were not buckled. That’s compared to 42 percent of passenger car occupants who were not wearing seat belts when they were killed. Regardless of vehicle type, seat belt use is the single most effective way to stay alive in a crash.
· Seating position: Too many people wrongly believe they are safe in the back seat unrestrained. Forty-six percent of all front-seat passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in 2018 were unrestrained, but 56 percent of those killed in back seats were unrestrained.
· Rural versus urban locations: People who live in rural areas might believe that their crash exposure is lower, but in 2018, there were 12,068 passenger vehicle fatalities in rural locations, compared to 10,330 fatalities in urban locations. Out of those fatalities, 49 percent of those killed in the rural locations were not wearing their seat belts, compared to 45 percent in urban locations.
Click It or Ticket—Day and Night
· High-visibility seat belt enforcement is important 24 hours a day, but nighttime is especially deadly for unbuckled occupants. In 2018, 56 percent of passenger vehicle occupants killed at night (6 p.m.–5:59 a.m.) were not wearing their seat belts.
· Click It or Ticket isn’t about citations; it’s about saving lives. In 2018, there were 9,778 unbuckled passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in the United States. To help prevent crash fatalities, we need to step up seat belt enforcement, day and night.