Department of Transportation: WisDOT and Donald Driver urge seat belt use to prevent tragedies

Fastening your seat belt is one of the most important things every driver and passenger can do to stay safe in the event of an accident. Former Packers star Donald Driver is once again partnering with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to raise awareness of this simple safety measure, launching the annual Click It or Ticket campaign at a press conference in Milwaukee.

Seat belt use in Wisconsin is down. Last year, around 88% of drivers and passengers buckled up, according to a 2021 seat belt survey. That number was down two percentage points from 2019 and lags the rate national of about 90%.

At the same time, states across the country are seeing an increase in fatalities. About 150 people have died on Wisconsin roads since the start of 2022.

“We can put an end to these horrible accidents that we see every day on the highways of Wisconsin. We need every person across the state to take responsibility for road safety,” said WisDOT Secretary Craig Thompson. “Fasten your seatbelt and put down your phone. Every trip, every time. It’s so easy.”

The annual Click It or Ticket campaign is a nationwide law enforcement effort that runs from May 23 through June 5. Wisconsin law enforcement will be patrolling to educate the public and encourage seat belt use.

Wisconsin’s main seat belt law allows law enforcement to arrest and cite drivers for not wearing their seat belts. Drivers can also be cited for each unbuckled passenger in their vehicle. The aim is not simply to issue citations but to encourage long-term change in driver and passenger behavior.

“You can’t always control what other people are doing on the roads. It can be a dangerous place if others are careless, but wearing a seat belt is one of the most important things you can do to survive an accident,” said Anthony Burrell, Patrol Superintendent of the state of Wisconsin.

Former Packer Donald Driver has pledged to encourage seatbelt use. As a spokesperson for WisDOT Click It or Ticket, he is featured in a new animated video that is part of a public awareness campaign launching later this month.

“The sad reality is that it’s not a habit for a lot of people to buckle up. When I buckle up, I buckle up for my family. I want to go home and I want each of them to take the habit of wearing a seatbelt every time he gets behind the wheel or gets into a car,” Driver said.

Before Wisconsin’s seat belt law took effect in 2009, seat belt usage in the state was less than 74 percent. This number has increased significantly through continued public education, including advertisements featuring Donald Driver, and law enforcement efforts. WisDOT continues to urge safety measures to achieve a goal of zero deaths on Wisconsin roads.

Find more statistics on the Click It or Ticket information sheet.

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