Click It or Ticket an outstanding safety reminder

The first phase of the annual Click It or Ticket enforcement campaign by the Michigan State Police started Monday with ads and will grow into enforcement zones next week. We think this campaign to get drivers to use their seat belts is a good way for all of us to remember how important the proper use of safety restraints is.

The MSP reasoning behind Click It or Ticket isn’t to cash in on non-seat belt traffic stops. It’s to reduce traffic deaths and injuries in crashes by reminding the public that wearing a seat belt is a law because it saves lives.

And we think the proof is in the pudding: MSP data states that seat belt use has fallen from a high of 97.9 percent in 2009 to just 93 percent in 2013. While usage has dropped, the state’s traffic deaths have increased from 871 in 2009 to 951 last year. That relates to almost 10 additional traffic deaths per 1 percent drop in seat belt use.

You’ll see an increased ad campaign presence via television, radio, billboards and even the internet throughout the state reminding you that if you don’t click it – your safety belt – every time you drive, you’ll be ticketed. That goes for passengers in vehicles as well drivers.

The goal of Click It or Ticket is to get seat belt use back up to 98 percent where it was five short years ago. We think it’s a reasonable ambition considering that many who don’t wear a safety belt do so because they think it should be a personal choice, much like wearing a motorcycle helmet – or not wearing one.

In 2013, more than 9,000 citations were issued by officers during Click It or Ticket and the MSP found additional drunk drivers, drivers with suspended licenses and made numerous other arrests during the campaign.

We think anything that helps the safety of Michigan’s public is a good thing. Especially when it’s something that can help save lives.