An annual campaign to remind drivers and passengers that wearing a seatbelt saves lives has been launched.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) ‘Click it or Ticket’ campaign will see State and local law enforcement agencies nationwide working together to encourage drivers and passengers to buckle up.

“Putting on your seat belt only takes two seconds, but it can save your life,” said NHTSA Chief Counsel Ann Carlson.

“Your seat belt is your best protection against serious or fatal injuries in a crash – and wearing your seat belt is also the law in most states. Whether you’re in the front seat or the back, use your seat belt on every trip, every time.”

NHTSA has also released an Occupant Protection Traffic Safety report that shows pickup truck drivers and passengers have had the highest percentage of unrestrained fatalities across all vehicle types for nearly 20 years. In 2021, 60 per cent of pickup truck drivers and 64 per cent of pickup truck passengers killed in crashes were not wearing seat belts.

The study reveals unbelted passenger vehicle occupants didn’t fare much better. The number of passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes from 2018 to 2021 has increased every year. In 2018, there were 9,545 unrestrained fatalities. In 2021, of 11,813 passenger vehicle occupants who died in a crash 45 per cent were not wearing a seat belt.

In January 2022, the US Department of Transportation released the comprehensive National Roadway Safety Strategy, a roadmap to address the national crisis in traffic fatalities and serious injuries. It adopts the safe system approach and builds multiple layers of protection with safer roads, safer people, safer vehicles, safer speeds and better post-crash care.