National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: The Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement programs

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on April 11, 2010

Analyzing the First Years of the Click It or Ticket Mobilizations

  • “The Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement programs conducted between 2000 and 2006 were an important factor in increasing seat belt use nationwide and in virtually all States. This was the case for observed belt use, belt use in fatalities, and self-reported seat belt use. As enforcement programs continued across the country and belt use increased, public awareness and attitudes changed as well, with growing support for primary belt laws and belt enforcement. Among States with secondary seat belt enforcement laws, where an officer must first stop a vehicle for some other violation before issuing a seat belt citation, the States that increased seat belt use the most had greater levels of enforcement. Primary law States (where an officer can issue a belt citation upon observing an unbelted motorist like all other traffic laws) had substantially higher seat belt use and higher levels of enforcement than secondary States. States that converted from secondary to primary laws during the period showed the greatest increase in belt use. The five States that had the greatest increase in belt use (Utah, Michigan, North Dakota, Alabama, and Alaska) were compared with the five States with the smallest increases (Louisiana, North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina, and Montana). While average media expenditures were similar, enforcement rates were almost twice as high in the States showing the greater increases. Support for Click It or Ticket programs remains high in most States, and it is likely that continuation of State programs with high enforcement intensity will be capable of producing further increases in belt use. The key to increasing seat belt use beyond 83% nationally are likely Click It or Ticket programs aimed at the general driving population, supplemented by special programs targeting low-use groups such as occupants of pickup trucks, residents of rural areas, and nighttime drivers.”
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