By Debbie Hersman
In 1993, then North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt launched the Click it or Ticket campaign. It was the first statewide occupant protection campaign in the U.S. The program combined 3,000 enforcement checkpoints, paid advertising and media awareness. During the enforcement crackdown, more than 58,000 citations were issued for seat belt violations and by 1994 North Carolina’s seat belt use for drivers rose from 65 percent to 81 percent.
20 years later, Click It or Ticket has become a national enforcement effort designed to crack down on the non-use of seat belt and to reduce highway deaths and injuries. Today, Click It or Ticket mobilizations are conducted annually by law enforcement agencies, state highway safety offices and traffic safety advocates around the nation, with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration support and $8 million in funding from Congress.
Since the launch of this innovative program, the national seat belt use rate has risen from 58 percent to 86 percent, and hundreds of thousands of lives have been saved and injuries prevented. But, there is still work to be done. In 2011, 52 percent of the more than 21,000 people killed in motor vehicle crashes were not wearing a seat belt.
So remember, day or night, buckle yourself and your passengers up every time you go out.