Click It or Ticket Campaign Under Way

"Our message to drivers is simple: If you're not buckled up, we'll see it. And we'll give you a ticket every single time," Acting NHTSA Administrator David J. Friedman warned.

With Memorial Day comes the beginning of this year's Click It or Ticket campaign, when law enforcement agencies are on the lookout for drivers who are not wearing their seat belts. The May holiday is the start because it marks the start of the U.S. summer driving season.

David J. Friedman, acting administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, wrote about it in a May 23 post on DOT's Fast Lane blog.

"During this period of heightened enforcement and education, we partner with our friends in state and local law enforcement to promote seat belt use for one simple reason: it saves lives. In fact, since 1975, the simple act of putting on a seat belt has saved more than 300,000 lives," he wrote. "In 2012 alone, seat belts saved an estimated 12,174 lives. Yet, inexplicably, millions of Americans don't buckle up when they drive or ride along in a car or truck. It makes no sense, and it causes unnecessary tragedy and heartache. Because, of the more than 21,000 vehicle occupants killed in crashes in 2012, more than half—52 percent—were not wearing seat belts. For nighttime crashes, the statistics are even more compelling, with 62 percent of all occupants killed not wearing seat belts. The good news is that there's ample evidence that more Americans are getting the message that seat belts save lives. Seat belt use in 2012 climbed to 86 percent, a huge increase from just 58 percent back in 1994."

His post notes that this year's campaign includes "Fake-A-Rooney" ads that aired nationally during the Memorial Day weekend, with the message that driving without wearing a seat belt is not a joking matter. "Our message to drivers is simple: If you're not buckled up, we'll see it. And we'll give you a ticket every single time. Because seat belts save lives," Friedman wrote. "From all of us at NHTSA, here's to a terrific--and safe--summer!"

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