The result of this year’s Click-It or Ticket campaign in Ohio shows that despite many warnings, public safety campaigns, and stepped-up enforcement efforts, a surprising number of drivers in the state still drive without wearing their seat belt. Nearly 9,000 people who failed to wear a seat belt were killed or injured in Ohio auto accidents, according to the most recent data.
Ohio’s State Highway Patrol reported recently that during its two-week Click-It or Ticket Campaign across the state, nearly 16,000 motorists were cited for failing to wear the proper safety restraints. On top of that statistic are another 530 drivers who were issued penalties for failing to properly secure children in their vehicles.
The Click-It or Ticket campaign ran from May 20 through June 2 in Ohio and 500 law enforcement agencies across the state participated in the effort that’s mirrored in other states. The goal of the campaign is to enforce seat belt laws designed to reduce or prevent serious injuries in Ohio auto accidents.
“Initiatives like Click-It or Ticket illustrate the effectiveness of law enforcement agencies working together for a common cause,” said Director Thomas P. Charles, Ohio Department of Public Safety. “Lives were saved because of the diligence of these officers to enforce Ohio’s motor vehicle laws.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which organizes the Click-It or Ticket campaign nationally during the same time, says that one-in-five drivers does not wear a seat belt regularly when they get behind the wheel. The agency says that seat belts are proven lifesavers, too. NHTSA data shows that in the last decade, 10 percent more Ohioans wear a seat belt in the vehicle. In 2004, just 74.1 percent of Ohio motorists and occupants wore seat belts.
Nationwide, Click-It or Ticket organizers have said that the program continues to show positive gains in seat belt use but more targeted efforts must be implemented to impact certain drivers. In 2010, NHTSA released a report in which it identified drivers of pickup trucks, people living in rural areas, and night drivers as those who generally were more likely to not wear a seat belt.
Based on the most recent data available in Ohio, nearly 400 people who did not wear a seat belt died in an Ohio auto accident in 2011. Top that with about 7,500 injuries from Ohio auto accidents among people who did not wear their seat belt.
Among the people who were killed in Ohio auto accidents in 2011, most weren’t wearing seat belts. Authorities say that 372 of the 713 deaths in Ohio auto accidents in 2011 were people who didn’t wear a seat belt.
Most of these motorists in Ohio were between the ages of 16 and 40. Nearly one-third of those 372 deaths in Ohio auto accidents in 2011 were among people between the ages of 16 and 25. Only 20.5 percent of motorists who died in an accident that year between the ages of 21 and 25 wore a seat belt at the time of their death.