Raleigh - Governor Pat McCrory has proclaimed May as Seat Belt Safety Awareness Month to remind vehicle occupants to buckle up in every seat, every time. Regardless of vehicle type, time of day, or seating position, wearing a seat belt is the single most effective way to reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes. In 2015, 42 percent of passenger vehicle fatalities in North Carolina were drivers or passengers not wearing seat belts.
The N.C. Governor's Highway Safety Program's (GHSP) 2015 Annual Statewide Seat Belt Survey reported that 89.9 percent of front seat drivers and passengers wear their seat belt. Unfortunately, unrestrained serious injuries increased in North Carolina from 395 in 2014 to 436 in 2015. Unrestrained fatalities also increased from 374 in 2014 to 415 in 2015.
"Unrestrained fatalities could be prevented by taking three seconds when you get into a vehicle -by the simple act of wearing a seat belt," said Don Nail, director of the GHSP. "Our message is simple, buckle up in every seat, every time."
North Carolina law requires occupants in the front and rear seats of a passenger vehicle to be properly restrained by using a seat belt. Many passengers feel that they are safer in the rear seat and do not need to wear a seat belt. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates 58 percent of rear seat passenger fatalities were unrestrained in 2014 compared to the 47 percent in the front seat.
The N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT) and the GHSP in partnership with state and local law enforcement will conduct their annual "Click It or Ticket" enforcement campaign in conjunction with the national mobilization around the Memorial Day holiday.
"Time after time, we see the deadly results that come from drivers and passengers refusing to wear a seat belt," said Don Nail. "Wearing a seat belt is one of the most important steps in increasing survivability in a crash. Law enforcement will stop those who are not buckled up -strict enforcement now means lives saved later."
To help share the "Click It or Ticket" message, the GHSP, in conjunction with the NCDOT, will launch a creative marketing campaign to remind travelers to "Click It or Ticket. Every Seat. Every Time. It's The Law."