State ramps up seat belt campaign - KPTV - FOX 12

State ramps up seat belt campaign

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LANSING, MI (WNEM) -

Drivers should put on their seatbelts when they start their cars.

Motorists are being put on alert via a short but attention-getting ad campaign that the annual Click It or Ticket traffic enforcement mobilization is just around the corner. Click It or Ticket messages will appear on TV, cable, radio and internet sites as well as billboards.

The federally funded mobilization is meant to reverse a decline in the state's seat belt use rate that began in 2010 and continued through last year when belt use hit 93.6 percent, down from the all-time high of 97.9 percent in 2009.

"Despite a high observed belt use rate, we know that about half of the vehicle occupants who die in crashes are unbelted," said Michael L. Prince, director of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP). "This mobilization seeks to ultimately save lives and reduce injuries."

The advertising campaign's primary audience is young men, who have lower seat belt use rates and a higher likelihood of being involved in a crash. Billboards and ads during sporting events ensure the message reaches a broad audience as well.

According to state, officials seat belt use in Michigan breaks down the following:

  • Drivers are more likely to buckle up than passengers.
  • Women have higher seat belt use rates than men.
  • Pickup truck drivers have the lowest seat belt use rate of any vehicle type.
  • Seat belt use is lowest for young men driving pickup trucks.

Next week law enforcement officers in 26 counties plan a series of safety belt enforcement zones leading up to and including the Memorial Day holiday weekend. Advertising, community outreach and well-marked enforcement zones are meant to increase seat belt use.

State officials say the brief but focused effort has paid big dividends for the state. While the advertising blitz is just two weeks long, a statewide phone survey indicates nearly 90 percent of Michigan residents know and recognize the Click It or Ticket campaign. The state's primary seat belt law, coupled with an annual enforcement push, has helped reduce traffic deaths and injuries.

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