Click It or Ticket

Click It or Ticket
California's version of the campaign includes widespread placement of these traffic signs

Click It or Ticket is a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration campaign aimed at increasing the use of seat belts among young people in the United States. The campaign relies heavily on targeted advertising aimed at teens and young adults.

The Click It or Ticket campaign has existed at state level for many years. In 1993, Governor Jim Hunt launched the campaign in North Carolina in conjunction with a "primary enforcement" safety belt law," which allows law enforcement officers issue a safety belt citation, without observing another offense. Since then, other states have adopted the campaign. In May 2002, the ten states with the most comprehensive campaigns saw an increase of 8.6 percentage points, from 68.5% to 77.1%, in safety belt usage over a four-week period (Solomon, Ulmer, & Preusser, 2002). Recently, Congress approved $30 million in television and radio advertising at both the national and state levels.[citation needed]



Click It or Ticket-sponsored banner in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Before 1980, usage of seat belts in the United States lingered around 11% despite volunteer and educational campaigns at local, county, and state levels. Between 1980 and 1984, individual organizations, public education programs, incentives and policy changes strove to increase the use of seat belts. However, these efforts failed to significantly affect usage in large, metropolitan areas, and in by the end of the effort, national seat belt usage had reached only 15%.[1]

In 1984, New York became the first state to enact a mandatory seat belt use law, and by 1990 37 other states had followed suit. The vast majority of these laws were "secondary safety belt laws", meaning that an officer had to observe another traffic violation before issuing a citation for a seat belt infraction. Despite this, the national usage rate climbed from 15% to 50%.[1]

Campaign methods

The national television ad [airing] on several major networks features people driving in several regions of the country without their safety belts on. They receive a ticket, and then buckle up. The ads [appear] primarily in programs that deliver large audiences of teens and young adults—especially men. The programs include Fear Factor, WWE Smackdown, Major League Baseball, NBA Conference Finals, NASCAR Live, and the Indy 500.[2]

The campaign is also stressing strict enforcement of safety belt laws, in particular, the "Primary safety belt laws", which allow law enforcement officers issue a safety belt citation without observing another offense. By January 2007 25 states had primary safety belt laws, and on average 88% of people in these states use safety belts as opposed to 79% nationally.[citation needed] New Hampshire, the state with historically the lowest safety belt usage,[3] is the only state without an adult safety belt law. Massachusetts, the state with the second lowest usage, has only a secondary safety belt law, which requires officers to observe another driving offense before issuing a safety belt citation. Enforcement of safety belt laws of both types is to be made possible by checkpoints and saturation patrols that will detect violations of safety belt and child passenger safety laws.

Success of Click It or Ticket

The campaign is deemed a success by proponents in terms of increasing seat belt use. A survey conducted by Public Opinion Strategies found that 83% of 800 United States citizens surveyed had seen, read, or heard about the Click It or Ticket campaign. Additionally, 81% of the public supports the effort.[citation needed]

Figures released by the U.S. Department of Transportation after amplifying the advertising and enforcement campaign on May 19, 2003 indicated that "National belt use among young men and women ages 16-24 moved from 65% to 72%, and 73% to 80% respectively, while belt use in the overall population increased from 75% to 79%."[2]

Illegal Checkpoints & Enforcement

Safety Belt Checkpoints or enforcement are illegal by statute in the following states, most of which participate in the Click-it-or-ticket campaign, despite the checkpoints/enforcement being illegal.


Arizona Revised Statute 28-909

C. A peace officer shall not stop or issue a citation to a person operating a motor vehicle on a highway in this state for a violation of this section unless the peace officer has reasonable cause to believe there is another alleged violation of a motor vehicle law of this state.


Colorado Revised Statutes 42-4-237

(5) No driver in a motor vehicle shall be cited for a violation of subsection (2) of this section unless such driver was stopped by a law enforcement officer for an alleged violation of articles 1 to 4 of this title other than a violation of this section.


IC 9-19-10-3.1 Stopping, inspecting, or detaining vehicle; checkpoints Sec. 3.1. (a) Except as provided in subsection (b), a vehicle may be stopped to determine compliance with this chapter. However, a vehicle, the contents of a vehicle, the driver of a vehicle, or a passenger in a vehicle may not be inspected, searched, or detained solely because of a violation of this chapter. (b) A law enforcement agency may not use a safety belt checkpoint to detect and issue a citation for a person's failure to comply with this chapter. As added by P.L.214-2007, SEC.8.


Idaho Code 49-673

(5) Enforcement of this section by law enforcement officers may be accomplished only as a secondary action when the operator of the motor vehicle has been detained for a suspected violation of another law.


Kansas Chapter 8, Article 25 8-2503

(f) Law enforcement officers shall not stop drivers for violations of subsection (a) in the absence of another violation of law. A citation for violation of subsection (a) shall not be issued without citing the violation that initially caused the officer to effect the enforcement stop.


Chapter 90: Section 13A

The provisions of this section shall be enforced by law enforcement agencies only when an operator of a motor vehicle has been stopped for a violation of the motor vehicle laws or some other offense.


Missouri Statute 307.178

2. Each driver, except persons employed by the United States Postal Service while performing duties for that federal agency which require the operator to service postal boxes from their vehicles, or which require frequent entry into and exit from their vehicles, and front seat passenger of a passenger car manufactured after January 1, 1968, operated on a street or highway in this state, and persons less than eighteen years of age operating or riding in a truck, as defined in section 301.010, RSMo, on a street or highway of this state shall wear a properly adjusted and fastened safety belt that meets federal National Highway, Transportation and Safety Act requirements. No person shall be stopped, inspected, or detained solely to determine compliance with this subsection. The provisions of this section and section 307.179 shall not be applicable to persons who have a medical reason for failing to have a seat belt fastened about their body, nor shall the provisions of this section be applicable to persons while operating or riding a motor vehicle being used in agricultural work-related activities. Noncompliance with this subsection shall not constitute probable cause for violation of any other provision of law. The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to the transporting of children under sixteen years of age, as provided in section 307.179.


Montana Code Annotated 61-13-103

(4) The department or its agent may not require a driver who may be in violation of this section to stop except upon reasonable cause to believe that the driver has violated another traffic regulation or that the driver's vehicle is unsafe or not equipped as required by law.


R.R.S. Nebraska 60-6, 268

(2) Enforcement of subdivision (1)(b) and subsection (6) of section 60-6,267 shall be accomplished only as a secondary action when an operator of a motor vehicle has been cited or charged with a violation or some other offense unless the violation involves a person under the age of eighteen years riding in or on any portion of the vehicle not designed or intended for the use of passengers when the vehicle is in motion.


NRS 484.641 3(b):

A citation may be issued pursuant to this subsection only if the violation is discovered when the vehicle is halted or its driver arrested for another alleged violation or offense. Any person who violates the provisions of subsection 2 shall be punished by a fine of not more than $25 or by a sentence to perform a certain number of hours of community service.

New Hampshire

There is no law mandating seat belt use on adults aged eighteen and up.

North Dakota

North Dakota Code 39-21-41.5.

Secondary enforcement. A peace officer may not issue a citation for a violation of section 39-21-41.4 unless the officer lawfully stopped or detained the driver of the motor vehicle for another violation. Drivers' license points may not be assessed against any person for violation of section 39-21-41.4.


Ohio Revised Code 4513.263

(D) Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, no law enforcement officer shall cause an operator of an automobile being operated on any street or highway to stop the automobile for the sole purpose of determining whether a violation of division (B) of this section has been or is being committed or for the sole purpose of issuing a ticket, citation, or summons for a violation of that nature or causing the arrest of or commencing a prosecution of a person for a violation of that nature, and no law enforcement officer shall view the interior or visually inspect any automobile being operated on any street or highway for the sole purpose of determining whether a violation of that nature has been or is being committed.


PA vehicle Code § 4581.

(1.1) Any person who is operating a passenger car, Class I truck, Class II truck, classic motor vehicle, antique motor vehicle or motor home and who transports a child four years of age or older but under eight years of age anywhere in the motor vehicle, including the cargo area, shall fasten such child securely in a fastened safety seat belt system and in an appropriately fitting child booster seat, as defined in subsection (d). This paragraph shall apply to all persons while they are operators of motor vehicles where a seating position is available which is equipped with a seat safety belt or other means to secure the systems or where the seating position was originally equipped with seat safety belts. A conviction under this paragraph by State or local law enforcement agencies shall occur only as a secondary action when a driver of a motor vehicle has been convicted of violating any other provision of this title.

South Dakota

South Dakota Code 32-38-5.

Enforcement—Violation as petty offense. Enforcement of this chapter by state or local law enforcement agencies shall be accomplished as a secondary action. A violation of this chapter is a petty offense.


Title 23: Motor Vehicles Chapter 13: Operation Of Vehicles Section: 1259

(e) This section may be enforced only if a law enforcement officer has detained the operator of a motor vehicle for a suspected violation of another traffic offense. An operator shall not be subject to the penalty established in this section unless the operator is required to pay a penalty for the primary offense.


Virginia Code 46.2-1094

F. No citation for a violation of this section shall be issued unless the officer issuing such citation has cause to stop or arrest the driver of such motor vehicle for the violation of some other provision of this Code or local ordinance relating to the operation, ownership, or maintenance of a motor vehicle or any criminal statute.


Wyoming Code 31-5-1401

(d) No motor vehicle shall be halted solely for a violation of this section.

Opposition to Click It or Ticket

Opposition to the effort is primarily based on the belief that requiring wearing of a seatbelt is a violation of civil rights. For example, Prof. Walter E. Williams of George Mason University writes, "The point is whether government has a right to coerce us into taking care of ourselves. If eating what we wish is our business and not that of government, then why should we accept government's coercing us to wear seat belts?"[4]

Two Internet-based groups were founded to advocate this line of thinking. Stick It to Click It or Ticket operated a website and discussion forum, as did The Coalition for Seatbelt Choice. Both groups provided various levels of assistance to citation recipients by encouraging them to take their tickets to court. The groups have sponsored letter-writing campaigns to the editors of newspapers against compulsory seatbelt statutes. Both sites have since disappeared.[citation needed]

In Maryland, former Governor Robert Ehrlich opposed spotlights used by police officers to see into vehicles at night to determine if seat belts were being used on the basis that this violated privacy. Nighttime enforcement was suspended at the governor's request.[5]

See also


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ NHSTA (January 2007). "Traffic Safety Facts" (PDF). 
  4. ^] Journalist Scott Indrisek has strenuously worked to oppose mandatory seat belt efforts, which he calls "a black stain on America." Additional objections settle specifically around the assertion that a seatbelt is a medical device, and because one is entitled to make their own medical decisions they should also be permitted to make their own decisions about wearing a seatbelt. [1]
  5. ^ State Net - Legislative and Regulatory Information Service

External links

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