Reporting on pedestrian life in the D.C. area

The lighter side of 'Click It or Ticket'

May 21, 2012 - 12:21 PM
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(Photo: NHTSA)

Drivers, are you buckling up? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has begun its annual two-week Click It or Ticket blitz, where the federal government parades its seat belt PSAs and police across the country seek out people not wearing their seat belts from May 21 through Memorial Day weekend.

The government agency estimates that three million tickets have been given out as part of the campaign over the last half decade. Seat belts, the agency contends, save thousands of lives. In 1977, the federal government mandated they be installed in every car by the early '80s. In the interim years, state governments responded with laws mandating that passengers buckle up, and statistics suggest they've saved more than a quarter million lives since, despite a few who persistently don't wear seat belts. One government report notes that while seat belts saved more than 12,000 lives in 2009, they could have saved 3,688 additional lives if everyone wore the safety belts. Traffic fatalities, both locally and nationally, have dropped in recent years. D.C. enacted its own mandatory seat belt law in 1997, and seat belt use rose from 58% in 1997 to about 92% in 2010. The District issues $50 tickets for not buckling up, and police warn drivers that they can stop them for that violation alone. D.C.'s ad spots have an ominous tone, as you can see from last year's here.

But the federal government decided to go funny this year in its new national Click It or Ticket ad campaign entitled "Fake-A-Rooney." Death, crashes, bloodied roads? Forget about those bleak images. Fake-A-Rooney identifies a series of goofy characters who attempt to buckle their seat belts at the last minute to avoid cops and find themselves spilling food all over themselves and looking ridiculous. The tone is silly and strange but may appeal to younger audiences less attuned to the grim. See the signature 2012 PSA here:

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