Summer driving season is finally here. As usual, this Memorial Day Weekend comes with a safety reminder from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
On May 18th, the NHTSA kicked off its annual Click It or Ticket campaign, urging drivers in the DMV and around the country to remember the benefit of wearing a seat belt while driving.
While more motorists are wearing seat belts than ever before (87% nationally), the number of safety conscious drivers in large cities declines notably.
Seat belt use isn't just common sense. It's the law. Thirty-four states, including the District of Columbia, have in place "primary seat belt laws" allowing drivers to be pulled over for failure to wear a seat belt. Many also have secondary laws, which allow stops for unrestrained minors or other passengers. From May 18th to 31st, law enforcement nation wide will be "cracking down on seat belt violations" with added units and increased patrol presence.
Why is there a need for constant reminders, especially during holiday travel seasons, to drivers about seat belt usage? According to the United Stated Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, "It's simple: seat belts save lives. Thousands of Americans are alive today because they were wearing theirs during a crash. But thousands more would be with us if they had buckled up, and we will continue to urge every driver and passenger to use a seat belt."
Enforcement will be stepped up both day and night, underscoring the sad reality of car crash statistics:
- "Nearly half of the 21,132 passenger vehicle occupants who were killed on our nation's roadways in 2013 were not wearing their seat belts at the time of the fatal crashes, according to the NHTSA;
- More unrestrained crash fatalities happen at night (between 6:00 pm and 5:59 am) compared to daytime crashes. In 2013, of those killed in nighttime crashed, 59% were not wearing seatbelts (compared to 40%…during daytime hours);
- ...Of passenger vehicle occupants 13 to 15 and 18 to 23 years old who were killed in crashed, 61 percent were not buckled up"
These statistics are so excruciatingly painful and disturbing because they could be so easily eliminated. All drivers need to be more safety aware, particularly the most impacted demographic of 18-34 year old males.
The 13% of the population that does not remember to buckle up represents a staggering 27.5 million people that put themselves at far greater risk everyday. This summer, heed the advice of the Click It or Ticket campaign. You could avoid a costly ticket, but more importantly, you could avoid becoming another deadly statistic.