The Governor's Highway Safety Program is pleased to announce a new partnership with the Vermont Voltage, Vermont's only Premier Soccer Team. The Voltage, both men's and women's teams, will be helping to promote Click It or Ticket, a statewide campaign to increase seat belt use in Vermont.
Why is this important? Because traffic crashes are a leading cause of death, and failure to buckle up contributes to more fatalities than any other single factor. When crash victims are not buckled up, people die who would otherwise live, and bills soar for medical treatments for those who do survive, costing 60 to 80 percent more than for those who are buckled properly.
So the Voltage has agreed to partner with GHSP to have an impact on these statistics through Click It or Ticket, a national campaign designed to increase seat belt usage. Click It or Ticket is a combination of intensive media and high visibility enforcement that will take place the last weeks of May, traditionally a period of high traffic crashes and fatalities. The model is based on years of research proving that for many who don't buckle up - especially young drivers - the possibility of receiving a ticket is a more powerful incentive than the threat of injury or death.
Click It or Ticket has worked in other states around the country. North Carolina, for example, increased its safety belt rate to 83 percent as a result of this effort. In Vermont, usage rate is around 79 percent, ranking us 36th out of 50 states, which means many Vermonters are taking needless risks compared to our fellow Americans. If we can achieve an increase of just 10 percent, lives will be saved, and Vermont dollars will not be wasted. A team headed up by the Governor's Highway Safety Program is working hard to ensure this increase. A media campaign has been planned to educate Vermonters about the need to buckle up, with ads set to run all over Vermont between May 16 and June 5th. While the campaign is targeted for those who traditionally don't buckle up, the goal is also to reach the occasional user as well, those who wear belts on the highway but not on the short trip to the corner store.
In addition, every law enforcement agency in Vermont has been contacted, and coordinated, cooperative safety checkpoints have been planned in every county. Why? Because it is a well-proven fact that education by itself is not enough to change behavior. It must be a combination of education and enforcement to be effective. Officers don't want to write tickets, but if you ask any officer in the state, the choice between writing a ticket and knocking on a door to inform family of the death of a loved one is a very simple choice. If writing a ticket will save your life, the officer will write the ticket.
Listed below is the data for the crashes and the associated costs of those crashes over the last five years in Vermont. As you can plainly see, a 10 percent increase in safety belt usage will have an enormous impact on the safety of Vermonters and the economy of the state.
From 1997 through 2001, Vermont crash studies show that 456 people died on Vermont roadways, and 35,597 were injured. According to an economic study the total cost of all motor vehicle crashes during the past five years was a staggering $1.2 billion. Just one fatality cost the economy an average of more than $900,000 A critical injury can cost even more because of higher medical charges. While minor injuries make up the vast majority of all injuries, even these have a significant impact. Studies show the average cost of a minor injury crash is about $7,400, which means Vermonters spent $54 million for the least serious crashes over the past half-decade. The study is based on nationwide research developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
To learn more about the Click It or Ticket program, please click on the logo at the top of the page.
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