From May 24-June 6, 2021, state and local law enforcement agencies across the nation are stepping up their enforcement efforts for motorists who aren’t wearing their seat belts. For this year’s Click It or Ticket seat belt mobilization effort, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is asking all states to participate in the Border to Border (B2B) initiative on May 24, a one-day, 4-hour national seat-belt awareness kickoff event coordinated by participating state highway safety offices and their respective law enforcement liaisons. B2B aims to increase law enforcement participation by coordinating highly visible seat belt enforcement and encouraging drivers and passengers to buckle up at heavily traveled, highly visible state border checkpoints.
Face the Facts
- The national seat belt use rate in 2019 was 90.7%, which is good — but we can do better. The other 9.3% still need to be reminded that seat belts save lives.
- Among young adults 18 to 34 killed while riding in passenger vehicles in 2019, more than half (57%) were completely unrestrained — one of the highest percentages for all age groups.
- Men make up the majority of those killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes. In 2019, 65% of the 22,215 passenger vehicle occupants who were killed were men. Men also wear their seat belts at a lower rate than women do — 51% of men killed in crashes were unrestrained, compared to 40% of women killed in crashes.
Bust the Myths
- Vehicle type: There seems to be a misconception among those who drive and ride in pickup trucks that their larger vehicles will protect them better than other vehicle types would in a crash. The numbers say otherwise: 58% of pickup truck occupants who were killed in 2019 were not buckled. That’s compared to 43% of passenger car occupants who were not wearing seat belts when they were killed. Regardless of vehicle type, seat belt use is the single most effective way to stay alive in a crash.
- Seating position: Too many people wrongly believe they are safe in the back seat unrestrained. Forty-five percent of all front-seat passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in 2019 were unrestrained, but 58% of those killed in back seats were unrestrained.
- Rural versus urban locations: People who live in rural areas might believe their crash exposure is lower, but in 2019, there were 11,971 passenger vehicle fatalities in rural locations, compared to 10,187 fatalities in urban locations. Out of those fatalities, 48% of those killed in the rural locations were not wearing their seat belts, compared to 45% in urban locations.
Click It or Ticket — Day and Night
- High-visibility seat belt enforcement is important 24 hours a day, but nighttime is especially deadly for unbuckled occupants. In 2019, 55% of passenger vehicle occupants killed at night (6 p.m.–5:59 a.m.) were not wearing their seat belts.
- Click It or Ticket isn’t about citations; it’s about saving lives. In 2019, there were 9,466 unbuckled passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in the United States. To help prevent crash fatalities, we need to step up seat belt enforcement, day and night.