Idahoans encouraged to buckle up, Sept. 13-26
Idahoans will be encouraged to Click It, Dont Risk It! Sept. 13-26 as part of a campaign by the Idaho Transportation Departments Office of Traffic and Highway Safety (OTHS) to increase seat belt use statewide.
The campaign reminds motorists about the importance of using seat belts and making sure that friends and family also buckle up.
As drivers, we must commit to protecting the people we love when theyre in the car, said Mary Hunter of OTHS. We must make certain that our children are properly secured in a safety seat thats right for their age and weight, and insist that our passengers buckle up on every trip.
Western states lead the nation in the rate of seat belt use, with more than 90 percent of people buckling up. Idahos 74 percent seat belt use rate lags behind other western states and the national average. During 2003, 63 percent of the 239 occupants who died in motor vehicle crashes in Idaho were not properly restrained. About half of those killed might have lived had they been wearing safety restraints, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Seat belts are the single best defense against serious injury or death in the case of a collision, Hunter said.
Here are some safety restraint tips:
Significant progress is being made through education and enforcement; however, Idaho is still losing too many lives and incurring too many costs because people not buckling up, Hunter added.
Idahoans, not the crash victims, pay for 85 percent of all related medical costs, according to OTHS. These costs are passed on to the general public, primarily through insurance premiums and increased taxes. When crash victims are hospitalized, the medical costs for unbelted victims are 55 percent higher than for those who wear seat belts.
The Click It, Dont Risk It! campaign includes paid advertising and increased state and local law enforcement patrols for seat belt violators. Idaho law requires everyone in a vehicle to wear safety restraints.