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| Chaffin Luhana LLP

It’s not new news that wearing a seat belt helps protect you from serious injuries in a car accident.

But some people still haven’t gotten the message. According to data from 2014, over 21,000 vehicle passengers were killed and more than 11,000 of those weren’t wearing their seat belts.

To help reduce the number of injuries and deaths caused by not wearing belts, the National High Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has kicked off another “Click It or Ticket” campaign. It began on May 16, 2016.

NHTSA Works with Other Organizations to Encourage People to Buckle Up

According to a press release sent out by the administration, the NHTSA is working with a number of other organizations to mobilize the campaign. These include:

  • Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police
  • Illinois Department of Transportation
  • Illinois State Police
  • Chicago Police Department
  • Combined Accident Reduction Effort (CARE)

The NHTSA states that though most of us are using our seatbelts these days—88.5 percent in 2014—almost half of the passenger vehicle occupants who were killed in 2014 were not. Over half that were killed at night weren’t wearing them, compared to 41 percent killed in the daytime. Men were less likely than women to buckle up, and suffered the consequences—53 percent in fatal crashes were  not belted, compared to 40 percent of women.

NHTSA administrator Mark Rosekind noted that though progress has been made, “far too many people are still dying because they are not buckled up during crashes.”

Seat Belts Still Save Lives

As part of their campaign, the NHTSA released their report on seat belt use in 2015. They highlighted seat belt use in all 50 states, noting use rates in each, how they compared to each other, and how they had improved (or not) over the years between 2008 and 2015.

Which states did the best? California and Georgia came in at 97.3 percent in 2015, and unfortunately New Hampshire was last, at 69.5 percent. There were nineteen other states that scored 90 percent or higher, including those mentioned and Oregon, Illinois, Washington, Minnesota, New Mexico, Alabama, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Hawaii, New York, Nevada, Indiana, South Carolina, New Jersey, Texas, and Delaware.

The NHTSA also released its “Traffic Safety Facts” from 2014 (the most recent data available so far). According to that report, the age groups that suffered the most deaths from lack of seat belt use included those 13 to 15, and those 25 to 34. Those driving pickup trucks were less likely to use belts—60 percent of pickup drivers killed were unrestrained, compared to 54 percent of SUV drivers, 42 percent for passenger cars, and 38 percent for van drivers.

Seat belts save lives. In 2014, they saved an estimated 12,802 lives. The NHTSA states that lap/shoulder seat belts reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants by 45 percent, and the risk of moderate-to-critical injury by 50 percent. For light-truck occupants, they reduce the risk of fatal injury by 60 percent, and moderate-to-critical injury by 65 percent.

Proponents hope this year’s “Click It or Ticket” campaign will help change the attitudes of those who don’t use seat belts.

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