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California Department of Transportation
Public Affairs Office
Mark J. DeSio at Caltrans (916) 654-5782
September 30 , 2005
CALTRANS ROAD SIGNS ENCOURAGE MOTORISTS TO "CLICK IT OR TICKET"
SACRAMENTO - As part of the state’s long-term campaign towards increasing passenger safety through seat belt use, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will begin posting “Click It Or Ticket” signs approximately every 50 miles on freeways and highways in October.
Launched in May 2005, the “Click It Or Ticket” campaign is a joint effort between four departments in the California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency. The California Highway Patrol will continue to work with local police agencies in enforcing seat belt laws while the signs will be financed by a federal grant from the Office of Traffic Safety. Additionally, the Department of Motor Vehicles will continue to display “Click It Or Ticket” messaging in their California field offices.
“We’re proud to be a part of the extended statewide effort to continually increase seat belt use in California,” said Caltrans Director Will Kempton. “Road safety is a high priority and these signs were designed to be a permanent reminder that wearing seat belts saves lives.”
Caltrans was part of a $3.1 million media campaign that included television and radio spots, billboards, road signage and other efforts that promoted seat belt mobilization between May and June 2005. Those outreach efforts contributed to raising California’s seat belt usage rate from 90.4 percent in 2004 to 92.5 percent in 2005.
“The 92.5 percent seat belt usage rate announced earlier this month translates into an additional 657,000 vehicle occupants that are now buckling up in California,” said CHP Commissioner Mike Brown. “It is no small coincidence that seat belt usage has been increasing while the number of roadway deaths has been decreasing. We hope to continue this trend by achieving an even higher seat belt usage rate next year, but we need the public’s cooperation.”
California’s seat belt usage rate is significantly higher than the national average of 82 percent, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). However, approximately half of all vehicle occupants killed in California did not use seat belts. NHTSA estimates that in 2004, 671 Californians who died in traffic crashes would be alive today had they simply worn a seat belt. Also, due to the state’s recent 2.1 percent increase in seat belt usage, the National Center for Statistics and Analysis estimates that 63 lives were saved and 861 serious injuries were prevented.