Overview – Seat belts are the most effective safety feature available in vehicles today; still nearly one in five Americans fail to regularly wear a seat belt when driving or riding in a motor vehicle. The effectiveness is indisputable. In 2008 alone, seat belts saved 13,250 lives nationwide.
Mission – Click It or Ticket is a nationwide enforcement campaign to crack down on seat belt nonuse and to reduce highway fatalities. The mobilization is conducted annually by NHTSA in conjunction with law enforcement agencies, State highway safety offices and traffic safety advocates. The law enforcement effort is supported by $8 million in national and State advertisements funded through Congress. The national ads produced by NHTSA in English and Spanish encourage all motorists, to always buckle up – every time, day and night.
History & Timeline:
1993 – The Click It or Ticket program was conceived in North Carolina in 1993. It was the first statewide occupant protection campaign in the United States. This innovative program combined 3,000 enforcement checkpoints, paid advertising, and earned media to build public awareness. During the enforcement crackdown, more than 58,000 citations were issued for seat belt violations. State seat belt use rates for drivers rose from 65 percent to 81 percent by July 1994.
2000 – South Carolina was the second State to conduct a Click It or Ticket campaign in November 2000. The campaign included enforcement crackdowns and earned media. In addition, paid advertising efforts supported by a $500,000 grant from the Air Bag & Seat Belt Safety Campaign. During a two-week enforcement period 3,303 checkpoints were conducted and 19,815 citations were issued. By the end of the two-week enforcement period seat belt use among front seat occupants rose from 65 percent to 79 percent.
2001 – Eight States across the southeast joined together to launch the first regional Click It or Ticket campaign in May 2001. NHTSA Region IV officials, the national Air Bag & Seat Belt Safety Campaign, State highway safety officials, and local law enforcement officials coordinated efforts in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. All eight States simultaneously undertook a five-week earned media campaign; a $3.6-million two-week paid advertising campaign; and a two-week intensive enforcement crackdown. Some 3,250 law enforcement agencies participated and conducted over 25,000 checkpoints or patrols. Enforcement efforts resulted in 119,805 seat belt citations, 9,495 child restraint citations, 8,478 DUI arrests, recovery of 254 stolen cars and apprehension of 1,471 fugitives. Substantial increases in the belt use rates were seen in every State.
2002 – Eighteen States participated in a national Click It or Ticket campaign pilot program in May 2002. Those States were Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Nevada, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia. Efforts were supported by Federal grants for seat belt enforcement and $10 million in paid advertising under the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21). Approximately 250,000 belt use citations were reported during the enforcement period across all 18 States.
2003 – Forty-three States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico participated in the Click It or Ticket nationwide enforcement crackdowns and mobilizations. A total of $8 million in Federal grant funds were used for a national broadcast advertising campaign. During the crackdown, States collectively issued 508,000 citations for seat belt violations. Subsequent research found significant increases in awareness of seat belt enforcement efforts and seat belt use rose to 79 percent, compared to 75 percent the previous year.
2004 & Present Day – Today, all States and territories participate in Click It or Ticket each year.