Motorists are being put on alert via a short but attention-getting ad campaign that the annual Click It or Ticket traffic enforcement mobilization is just around the corner. Click It or Ticket messages will appear on TV, cable, radio and Internet sites as well as billboards.
The federally funded mobilization is meant to reverse a decline in the state's seat belt use rate that began in 2010 and continued through last year when belt use hit 93.6 percent, down from the all-time high of 97.9 percent in 2009.
The program combines high visibility enforcement and intense publicity to remind motorists about the state's seat belt law and the importance of buckling up.
"Despite a high observed belt use rate, we know that about half of the vehicle occupants who die in crashes are unbelted," said Michael L. Prince, director of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP). "This mobilization seeks to ultimately save lives and reduce injuries."
The advertising campaign's primary audience is young men, who have lower seat belt use rates and a higher likelihood of being involved in a crash. Billboards and ads during sporting events ensure the message reaches a broad audience as well.
Seat belt use in Michigan:
Next week law enforcement officers in 26 counties plan a series of safety belt enforcement zones leading up to and including the Memorial Day holiday weekend. Advertising, community outreach and well-marked enforcement zones are meant to increase seat belt use.
This brief but focused effort has paid big dividends for the state. While the advertising blitz is just two weeks long, a statewide phone survey indicates nearly 90 percent of Michigan residents know and recognize the Click It or Ticket campaign. The state's primary seat belt law coupled with an annual enforcement push has helped reduce traffic deaths and injuries.