As the Memorial Day holiday approaches, the Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) Highway Safety Office is reminding all drivers of the importance of safe driving practices. The annual Click It or Ticket campaign is part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s high-visibility enforcement effort that runs from May 20 to June 2, 2019. The campaign is aimed at enforcing seat belt usage to keep drivers and passengers safe.

“During the Click It or Ticket campaign, Nebraska law enforcement officers will be sharing the buckle-up message with drivers and passengers,” said Mark Segerstrom, the NDOT-Highway Safety Administrator. “We cannot overstate the importance of wearing a seat belt. It’s the law, but it’s more than that: By far, buckling up is the simplest thing you can do to protect yourself and your family. We see the results of not wearing a seat belt all the time. We see the loss of life and so often, it could have been prevented with the simple click of a seat belt.”

Nebraskans living in rural areas might believe that their crash exposure is lower, but last year 73% of our traffic fatalities were in rural areas, compared to 27% in urban locations. There is also a misconception among those who drive and ride in pickup trucks that their large vehicles will protect them better than other vehicles would in a crash. The numbers say otherwise: nationally, 59% of pickup truck occupants who were killed in 2017 were not buckled.

That’s compared to 42% of passenger car occupants who were not wearing seat belts when they were killed. Regardless of vehicle type, seat belt use is the single most effective way to stay alive in a crash.

“If the enforcement crackdown wakes people up to the dangers of unrestrained driving, we’ll consider our mission to be a success,” said Segerstrom. “If you know a friend or a family member who does not buckle up when they drive, speak up and ask them to consider changing their habits. Help us spread this lifesaving message before one more friend or family member is killed. Seat belts save lives, and everyone—front seat and back, child and adult—needs to remember to buckle up—every trip, every time.”