According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s latest seat belt survey, usage is at an all time high with 84% of all Americans using them. Specifically here in California we have 95.3% compliance rate, due in part to tough enforcement by local authorities and the California Highway Patrol. However, that still leaves more than a million California drivers susceptible to serious personal injury if they are in a motor vehicle accident.
The popular California campaign, “Click It or Ticket” which began in 2005 has increased seatbelt usage from 92.5 to 95.3% in four years. That’s more than one million safer drivers on the road. Violations range from an adult ticket costing around $142 up to $445 for not properly restraining a child under 16.
Since the last campaign did so well, the CHP is now targeting younger drivers with the program, “No Belt No Brains”. The leading cause of death for young adult drivers is traffic collisions. This campaign will target teens in two ways; through PSA ads before major motion pictures and in print throughout California high schools. Either way, teens should get the message.
Thirteen of California’s 58 counties were identified to have the highest rates of teen drivers that had been killed or injured in a traffic accident without seatbelts being used. All of Southern California’s counties, including Orange were included. As an Orange County auto accident lawyer, we see the devastation of failing to belt up and especially in teens where we have seen horrendous injury and death in the last 10 years.
Tragically, last month a young California woman was seriously injured when the SUV she was riding in was exiting a freeway off ramp and rolled over. The woman who was riding in the passenger seat was ejected from the car, and then ran over by another automobile.
About half of all traffic fatalities involving unbelted passenger could be saved if they had only worn a seat belt. It takes only two minutes to buckle up and it could save your life!
Additionally, by wearing appropriate restraints, it can dramatically increase your survival rate if you are involved in a serious motor vehicle accident by 50%. Not to mention it models good behavior for your children to restrain themselves as well.
“No Belt No Brains” is possible only by a generous grant from the Office of Traffic Safety. “Click It or Ticket” is a cooperative effort among the five traffic safety-related departments under the state’s Business, Transportation and Housing Agency: the California Highway Patrol, Office of Traffic Safety, Department of Transportation, Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, and the Department of Motor Vehicles.