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California's current seat belt use rate of 96.2 percent is at an all- time high, but that still leaves nearly one million people who are not buckling up, putting their lives at risk every time they get into the car. The Click It or Ticket mobilization is credited with increasing the state's adult seat belt usage rate from 92.5 percent in 2005 to 96.2 percent in 2010.
"We are very proud of California's seat belt and child safety seat use rates," said Christopher J. Murphy, Director of the California Office of Traffic Safety. "However, with nearly one million motorists still not buckling up, there is much more work to do. Reaching the last four percent of motorists is crucial to reaching our goal of zero deaths."
More than 600 permanent Click It or Ticket highway signs, which have been up since 2005, have been updated to reflect the 'Minimum $142' message as a reminder to motorists that failing to buckle up is costly.
Properly restrained drivers, passengers and children have a 50 percent better chance of surviving a crash than unbelted occupants. Those ejected from vehicles in crashes or roll-overs are up to 35 times more likely to die than restrained occupants. In 2009 alone, seat belts saved approximately 12,713 lives nationwide. In California, it is estimated that 320 people who were killed in 2009 would be alive today if they had been wearing seat belts.
More than 140 local law enforcement agencies statewide and the California Highway Patrol will be participating in this year's Click It or Ticket mobilization. Funding to support California's Click It or Ticket campaign was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.