With another busy travel season about to begin, Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and Green Bay Packers’ all-time leading receiver Donald Driver teamed up to deliver a life-saving message to motorists: always wear a safety belt – every trip, every seat.
Kleefisch and Driver joined Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) Secretary Dave Ross and others at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee today to preview the annual Click It or Ticket mobilization set to run May 21 – June 3.
“Over the last decade, Wisconsin’s safety belt use rate has increased from about 74 percent to nearly 90 percent,” Lt. Governor Kleefisch said. “Our comprehensive public education and law enforcement efforts are making a difference. Still, we see too many needless and costly tragedies occur simply because people fail to buckle up.”
As part of Click It or Ticket, hundreds of law enforcement agencies across Wisconsin will patrol in greater numbers and for longer hours to encourage all motorists to wear a safety belt. Last year in Wisconsin, there were 58,899 traffic convictions for failure to fasten a seat belt.
“As always, the goal is not to write citations, but to get motorists to voluntarily comply with traffic safety laws that help make our roadways as safe as possible for everyone,” said WisDOT Secretary Dave Ross. “Although just 10 percent of motorists fail to buckle up, this relatively small group accounts for nearly half of the drivers and passengers killed in Wisconsin traffic crashes each year.”
WisDOT will utilize designated federal funds to support enhanced law enforcement efforts and to distribute TV, radio, Internet and other public outreach messages any featuring Green Bay Packers’ all-time leading receiver and Click It or Ticket spokesperson Donald Driver. Also during upcoming weeks, WisDOT will use electronic message signs along major highways to display buckle up reminders.
In Wisconsin, law enforcement can stop and cite motorists for failing to wear a safety belt. In addition, drivers can be cited for every unbuckled passenger in their vehicle. Penalties are higher for transporting unrestrained children.
“Improving the safety and behavior of drivers requires a cooperative effort and we’re proud to do our part to educate the public, prevent injuries and save lives,” said Deena Liska, Teen Driving Coordinator at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. “One way we’re doing this is through our Crossroads teen driving safety outreach program which encourages parents and the community to support young drivers as they learn this important skill. One of the best things we can do for new drivers is to remind them to buckle their seat belt every trip and to model that ourselves.”
Nationally, traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teens and young adults. Key factors in fatal traffic crashes among younger motorists include failure to wear safety belts, combined with inexperience and over-confidence behind the wheel.