Tuesday, 21 May 2019 11:07

Agencies rally to promote statewide ‘Click It or Ticket’ seat belt campaign

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RALEIGH — A statewide ‘Click it or Ticket’ campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of being an unbelted occupant in a vehicle, got underway at the North Carolina State Highway Patrol training track in Raleigh Monday. 

The staged crash involved two Dodge Chargers on a pully system, headed towards each other at about 45 mph.

The two vehicles were totaled.

The staged crash presented by the North Carolina Governor’s Highway Safety Program vividly highlights the dangers of being an unbelted rider in any seat.

“Crashes like this, happen every day across our state, and every single motorist must do their part, to save their own lives and the lives of others around them,” said Governor’s Highway Safety Program Director Mark Ezzell.

Fast facts:

  • Unbelted backseat riders become human torpedoes in a collision and a threat to the safety of front seat occupants even if they are wearing their seat belts.
  • Unbelted occupants are nearly two times as likely to die in a collision than those wearing their seat belts.
  • When crashes happen 52% of unbelted backseat riders are killed.

“This crash today is the perfect controlled example of what our first responders and law enforcement encounter on a daily basis,” said State Highway Patrol Lt. Colonel Vic Ward.

“When crews approach a crash and there is or has been an unbelted occupant involved, the reality is that it’s more likely they’ll be collecting the crash victims remains off of the concrete, rather them giving them a lift home,” continued Ward.

NCDOT Safety Consultant for Division Four, Dr. Debroah L. Leonard experienced firsthand the life-saving effects of wearing a seat belt.

“On May 14, 2018, I was in my truck with a colleague, when a driver failed to stop and slammed into the side of my vehicle, causing us to veer left of center and into a ditch," Leonard said.

“We survived that day simply because we were belted,” said Leonard.

“Just following the law and wearing your seat belt in every seat, every time, improves personal safety, keeps our communities intact and even improves our economy,” said Ezzell.

According to the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles, North Carolina has approximately 7.8 million licensed motorists and over 9.7 million registered vehicles. Last year alone, according to the Department of Insurance, traffic fatalities and serious injuries reaped over $4 billion in insurance claims.

“If North Carolinians were able to keep a fraction of the cash from those claims in their pockets, their lives and our overall economy could be dramatically improved,” said Ezzell. “If drivers could avoid wasting time in traffic because an unbelted driver or passenger exacerbated the results of a crash, that would improve lives.”

“If parents and guardians would buckle children properly in the back seat, these first responders wouldn’t have to suffer the nightmare of literally picking up the pieces of a child that didn’t have to die,” Ezzell added.

“On behalf of myself and staff here at the Governor’s Highway Safety Program, please, for yourselves, for your state and for the children, buckle up,” Ezzell finished.

In conjunction with the ‘Click It or Ticket’ staged crash, law enforcement agencies around the state are conducting checkpoints at city, county and state borders in a ‘Border 2 Border’ full saturation campaign that will last until nightfall.

Monday’s safety campaign was organized by the Governor’s Highway Safety Program, which promotes highway safety awareness through grants and safe driving initiatives like: Click It or Ticket, BikeSafe NC, Watch For Me NC, Speed a Little. Lose a Lot, and North Carolina’s Vision Zero initiative.