Raleigh - Since its statewide launch 21 years ago, the "Click It or Ticket" education and enforcement program has consistently increased driver seat belt usage rates and reduced fatalities across North Carolina. In June 2013, a seat belt survey showed that 89.6 percent of drivers were buckled up compared to 88 percent the previous year.
Despite the steady increase in the number of drivers buckling up, passenger usage rates are down across the state. Front seat passenger seat belt usage rates dropped in 2013 to 84.9 percent, down from 85.7 percent in 2012.
As the spring "Click It or Ticket" campaign kicks off today, the Governor's Highway Safety Program along with the N.C. Department of Transportation reminds passengers that it is the law to wear your seat belt - "Every Seat. Every Time." Law enforcement officers across the state will be out day and night enforcing "Click It or Ticket" for drivers and passengers who fail to buckle up. Failure to buckle up can result in fines of up to $161.
"Tremendous progress has been made in driver education and awareness, and most North Carolinians know that wearing your seat belt is not only the law, but can save your life," said Don Nail, director of the Governor's Highway Safety Program. "But many don't know that goes for passengers, too. The law requires you to buckle up no matter where you sit in the car. Our law enforcement partners can and will issue a seat belt citation to a passenger if they fail to abide by the law."
NCDOT produced a public service announcement to remind drivers and passengers that wearing a seat belt is not an option; the law applies to "Every Seat. Every Time."
The "Click It or Ticket" campaign launches today, May 19 and runs through the Memorial Day holiday weekend and ends on June 1.
Wake County law enforcement agencies partnered with the Governor's Highway Safety Program earlier today at the PNC Arena in Raleigh to kick off the campaign. The event was held in Wake County to highlight its decline in seat belt usage in recent years. The county-wide passenger seat belt usage rate in 2013 was 83.4 percent, a 6.1 percent drop from 2012.
NCDOT, the Governor's Highway Safety Program and law enforcement agencies across North Carolina are working together to reach a goal of 100 percent seat belt use among all vehicle occupants. For additional information, please visit ClickItorTicket.org.
Click here to watch the latest "Click It or Ticket" PSA