The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Acadiana Regional Transportation Safety Coalition are reminding Louisiana drivers to buckle up this week.
The national Click It or Ticket seat belt campaign, which coincides with the Memorial Day holiday, runs from May 24 to June 6, 2021.
“We want the act of buckling up to become automatic to all drivers and passengers,” said Ron Czajkowski, Regional Safety Coordinator. “It’s not just a safe thing to do – it’s the law. During the Click It or Ticket campaign, we’ll be working with our law enforcement partners across local and state lines to ensure the message gets out to drivers and passengers. 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. So often, it could have been prevented.”
According to NHTSA, in 2019, there were 9,466 unbuckled passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in the United States. In that same year, 55% of passenger vehicle occupants killed at night (6 p.m.–5:59 a.m.) were not wearing their seat belts.
Participating law enforcement agencies will be taking a no-excuses approach to seat belt law enforcement, writing citations day and night. In Louisiana, the maximum penalty for a seat belt violation is $500.
“You may think you’re safe in a certain vehicle, or on a certain road, but the truth is, you’re safest when you buckle up, no matter what,” said Ron Czajkowski. “Unfortunately, many families are suffering because their loved ones refused to follow this simple step. In fact, in 2019, we lost 34 community members in Acadiana because they did not buckle their seat belts.” Almost twice as many males were killed in crashes as compared to females, with lower belt use rates, too. Of the males killed in crashes in 2019, more than half (51%) were unrestrained. For females killed in crashes, 40% were not buckled up.
For more information on the Click It or Ticket mobilization, please visit www.nhtsa.gov/ciot.
Face the Facts
- The national seat belt use rate in 2019 was 90.7%, which is good — but we can do better. The other 9.3% still need to be reminded that seat belts save lives.
- Among young adults 18 to 34 killed while riding in passenger vehicles in 2019, more than half (57%) 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 2019, 65% of the 22,215 passenger vehicle occupants who were killed were men. Men also wear their seat belts at a lower rate than women do — 51% of men killed in crashes were unrestrained, compared to 40% 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: 58% of pickup truck occupants who were killed in 2019 were not buckled. That’s compared to 43% 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-five percent of all front-seat passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in 2019 were unrestrained, but 58% 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 2019, there were 11,971 passenger vehicle fatalities in rural locations, compared to 10,187 fatalities in urban locations. Out of those fatalities, 48% of those killed in the rural locations were not wearing their seat belts, compared to 45% 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 2019, 55% 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 2019, there were 9,466 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.
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