Symposium Marks 10th Anniversary of 'Click It or Ticket'
State and national traffic safety advocates examine its impact and its future

CHAPEL HILL, NC, November 19, 2003 — State and national traffic safety leaders gathered Nov. 13–14 to examine the impact and future of "Click It or Ticket," a program the HSRC helped spearhead. The high-visibility enforcement and public education program was created 10 years ago in three North Carolina communities, and has since been adopted as a model implemented in at least 44 states.

Symposium attendees, including HSRC director Dr. Douglas Robertson and several members of the staff, heard a taped message from Senator Elizabeth Dole. In the message, Dole acknowledged the HSRC and other groups who started the "Click It or Ticket" initiative.

"According to the Highway Safety Research Center at Chapel Hill, raising the seatbelt use from 65 percent in 1993 to 86.1 percent today has led directly to 1,600 lives saved, many of them young people," Senator Dole said.

Projecting through the end of 2003, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that increases in North Carolina's pre-"Click It or Ticket" use rate prevented more than 50,000 non-fatal injuries, and saved $4.9 billion in medical care, lost productivity and other injury-related costs.

The National Safety Council's Airbag & Seat Belt Safety Campaign presented the symposium in partnership with NHTSA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety (ACTS), the North Carolina Governor's Highway Safety Program and other leading highway safety organizations and individuals. Presenters examined data that documents the effect of primary safety belt legislation, high-visibility enforcement, and the paid and earned media initiatives that have increased both public awareness and compliance.

During the symposium, Dr. Donald Reinfurt, Retired Deputy Director of the HSRC spoke about documenting the sustainability of a mature "Click It or Ticket" program.

"Click It or Ticket" is a public-private partnership.

Highway safety and increased seat belt use benefits everybody. That's why "Click It or Ticket" is just one part of what is called the North Carolina Governor's Highway Safety Initiative. This initiative brings together the resources of the public and private sectors to save lives on our highways. State government, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the HSRC, the insurance community, law enforcement and local community coalitions statewide have dedicated their resources to create a model highway safety program for the nation.

North Carolina's "Click It or Ticket" program was launched in 1993 to increase seat belt and child restraint use rates through stepped-up enforcement of the state's seat belt law. Nearly every law enforcement agency in the state participates in "Click It or Ticket," one of the most intensive law enforcement efforts of its kind. Since the start of the program, law officers have held nearly 30,000 checkpoints and issued more than 200,000 seat belt and 18,000 child safety seat citations. At those same checkpoints, officers discovered 56,800 other criminal offenses including fugitives from justice, firearms violations, felony drug violations and stolen vehicles.

"Click It or Ticket" is a "best practice" other states, communities and organizations can duplicate to raise seat belt and child safety seat use, according to the Presidential Initiative for Increasing Seat Belt Use Nationwide. The new national strategy for increasing seat belt use calls for building partnerships, enacting primary seat belt laws, conducting active, high-visibility enforcement and expanding public education efforts. "Click It or Ticket" has already used these strategies to boost seat belt use and keep it at record levels.

The HSRC wishes to give a special thanks to Chuck Hurley, Joe Parker and Jim Long for their efforts in making the symposium a great success.

About the Highway Safety Research Center (HSRC)

The Highway Safety Research Center (HSRC) at UNC conducts interdisciplinary research aimed at reducing deaths, injuries, and related societal costs of roadway crashes. Research examines motor vehicle, bicycle, and pedestrian crashes, taking into account human, vehicular, roadway and environmental factors. The HSRC strives to translate its research knowledge into practical interventions and programs that can be applied at local, state, national, and international levels. Originally established in 1965 by the North Carolina General Assembly, the HSRC has shaped the field of transportation safety and remained a leading transportation research institute for nearly 40 years.

Led by Director Dr. Douglas Robertson, HSRC 's team of established researchers and dedicated staff complete an average of over 40 research projects yearly. Center researchers are continually investigating issues that may affect future legislation and policies, including: driver distraction, sleep deprivation, Graduated Driver Licensing, the role of alcohol in motor vehicle crashes, elderly driving issues, occupant restraint use, as well as commercial vehicle safety and enforcement.

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Caroline Dickson

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