‘Click It or Ticket’ campaign a success

Published 11:00 pm Saturday, June 2, 2012

For a change, Mississippi came out on the good end of a statistic over Memorial Day weekend.

The Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol reported no fatalities over the four-day holiday weekend, a stark difference from a year ago when nine people lost their lives on the state’s roadways.

The statewide “Click It or Ticket” campaign obviously contributed. Kudos to all the law enforcement agencies who made it a priority.

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The Memorial Day weekend is traditionally one of the deadliest for drivers with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reporting 397 deaths nationwide in 2010, the most recent data available. Only Labor Day with 403 and Thanksgiving with 431 had more deaths reported two years ago.

MHSP officials said state troopers investigated 101 accidents from 6 p.m. May 25 through midnight Memorial Day. Thirty-five injuries were reported.

In addition, troopers made 216 DUI-related arrests and issued 975 tickets for seat belt violations.

The highway patrol used federal funds to beef up patrols for its “Click It or Ticket” campaign allowing troopers to stage multiple checkpoints.

That increased presence, a blitz of commercials and a wealth of media coverage might have made the difference.

So is this what it takes to get people to buckle up? Glitzy commercials, billboards and road blocks?

It’s sad that it takes the threat of a $48 ticket to get people to do something as simple as wearing a seat belt, but hopefully some took the highly publicized message to heart and will start buckling up for safety instead of reacting to a financial threat.

Seat belts can’t prevent accidents and they don’t always prevent fatalities, but there is no question they increase our chances of survival on the dangerous road of life.

Anyone who thinks he or she is impervious or above such things is just asking to become a statistic some holiday weekend in the near future.