Photo courtesy of NHTSA.

Photo courtesy of NHTSA.

This year’s national “Click It or Ticket” safety campaign kicked off May 12 in Chicago, with federal and state officials collaborating to promote greater seat belt use on roads across the country. 

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 launch the 2016 campaign. The goal is to convince all vehicle drivers and passengers to buckle their safety belts each and every time they take a trip.

“Putting on your seat belt is one of the easiest and safest choices you can make,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

The national seat belt use rate has steadily climbed, reaching 88.5% in 2014. But data from NHTSA show that almost half of passenger vehicle occupants (49%) who were killed in 2014 were unrestrained.

In addition, 57% of passenger vehicle occupants killed at night were not wearing their seat belts, compared to 41% killed during daytime. In 2014, men wore their seat belts at a lower rate than women did — 53% of men in fatal crashes were unbelted, compared to 40% 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 Jim Kruger, Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police first vice president. “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%, Illinois has one of the highest state seat belt usage rates, but there are still individuals who don’t 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, according to NHTSA.

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.

For additional occupant fatality crash data, click here. 

To view a chart on state seat belt use in 2015, click here. 

Originally posted on Automotive Fleet