Editor's note: A video recording of Thursday's virtual meeting has been added to NCDOT's YouTube channel and also can be found at ncvisionzero.org/Robeson.
LUMBERTON – A seat-belt public awareness and enforcement campaign is coming to Robeson County.
The goal is to get more people to buckle up when inside a vehicle.
The seat-belt usage rate in Robeson County has fallen the last two years from 89.5% in 2018 to 78.3% last year. More than half of fatal crashes in the county involve people not wearing seat belts.
The N.C. Governor's Highway Safety Program (GHSP) and the N.C. Department of Transportation will coordinate a public awareness campaign and also a community outreach through the Robeson County Vision Zero task force, which held a virtual meeting Thursday. The community outreach will include media interviews with local officials beginning in April.
“We need to bring every resource to bear on getting our numbers back up across our community," said Grady Hunt, the task force chairman and a member of the N.C. Board of Transportation.
People can expect to start seeing the public awareness campaign on television and on social media by early May. The campaign will feature “local heroes" – members of law enforcement carrying out seat belt laws to protect the community.
Later in May, the N.C. Highway Patrol will lead a Click It or Ticket campaign in Robeson County.
The statewide seat-belt usage rate also has fallen the past two years from 91.3% in 2018 to 87.1% last year. The details about the seat-belt survey can be found in the 2020 report.
“This mirrors national trends," said GHSP Director Mark Ezzell, who addressed the task force Thursday. “We have a lot of work to do to get these numbers going back up across North Carolina and in Robeson County."
GHSP also wants to hear from people who decided to buckle up and prevented a serious injury.
The Robeson County Vision Zero task force is a grassroots and countywide effort wanting to change the driving culture and reducing highway deaths in Robeson County.