As part of the state’s long-term campaign toward increasing seat belt use, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has begun posting “Click It or Ticket” signs approximately every 50 miles on freeways and highways.
Launched in May 2005, the “Click It or Ticket” campaign is a joint effort between four departments under the California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency. The California Highway Patrol is working with local police agencies enforcing seat belt laws, while the signs are paid for through a federal grant from the Office of Traffic Safety. The Department of Motor Vehicles earlier this year displayed Click It or Ticket messaging in all California field offices. Caltrans is posting the new signs.
“The Click It or Ticket signs are an effort to encourage the public to buckle up when traveling,” said Mike Leonardo, Caltrans District 6 Director.
Earlier this year, Caltrans and the CHP and the Office of Traffic Safety conducted a $3.1 million media campaign that included television and radio spots, billboards, road signage and other promotional efforts that assisted in raising California’s seat belt use rate from 90.4 percent in 2004 to 92.5 percent in 2005.
“The 92.5 percent seat belt use rate translates into an additional 657,000 vehicle occupants that are now buckling up in California,” said CHP Commissioner Mike Brown. “Our goal is to get it even higher next year, but we need the public’s cooperation.”
California’s use rate is significantly higher than the national average of 80 percent, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). However, approximately half of all vehicle occupants killed in California are not buckling up. NHTSA estimates that 671 Californians who died in traffic crashes would be alive today had they simply worn a seat belt.