A ‘Click It or Ticket’ seat belt enforcement campaign has launched reminding motorists to buckle up on every trip.

The annual US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration initiative is this year emphasizing the importance of seat belt use at night and in rural areas.

Despite steady improvements, more than 11,000 passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in 2022 were unbelted, and 57 per cent of those killed were unbelted in nighttime crashes, according to the most recent data from NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis.

Furthermore 58 per cent of passenger vehicle occupants killed in rural traffic crashes at night were unbelted, compared to 56 per cent in urban areas.

“The decision to not buckle up could be a fatal one,” said Deputy Administrator Sophie Shulman.

“Wearing a seat belt is a simple step that can keep drivers and passengers safe. While we’ve made progress over the years, seat belt use still varies by time of day, region and demographics. Through NHTSA’s Click It or Ticket campaign, we’re urging everyone to wear their seat belt, even on short trips or when no other vehicles are on the road.”

The campaign also seeks to target seat belt use among passenger vehicle occupants ages 18-34 years old, particularly men within that age group as they are most likely to be involved in a fatal unbelted crash.

The effort is supported by an $11.2 million public awareness advertising campaign to encourage drivers and passengers to always buckle up when they are in a vehicle. In addition, state and local law enforcement agencies will work together during a heightened enforcement period from May 20 through June 2.