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Do Seatbelt Proponents Need a New Message?


California Struggles to Reach Seatbelt Holdouts

It’s common sense: wearing a seatbelt is one of the simplest, most effective ways to protect yourself in a motor vehicle. In the event of an accident, it’s more likely to save your life. Yet, there are still motorists and passengers who don’t buckle up.

Thanks to decades of work and a series of evolving campaigns, California now has seatbelt usage of about 97 percent. That exceeds the national average, which hovers around 87 percent, according to the California Highway Safety Patrol. But state safety officials want to do even better – and they’re launching a new campaign to reach the remaining seatbelt holdouts.

A New Slogan That Tugs at the Heart Strings

Earlier this summer, the state Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) launched a new campaign aimed at that three percent of seatbelt nonusers. The campaign highlights the slogan, “Do it for your family. Buckle up.”

According to Chris Cochran of the OTS, the slogan is aimed at people who aren’t necessarily worried about their own safety but do care about preventing grief or worry by their loved ones. The OTS hopes it may also appeal to those who dislike being told what to do by the government.

The Importance of Seatbelt Compliance

The state hopes to eventually bring up seatbelt usage to 100 percent – for good reason. Of the 24 people killed on California roads over Memorial Day weekend this year, 17 were not wearing seatbelts.

Even for focused, highly skilled drivers, seatbelts are essential. There is no way to control what other motorists do, and buckling up is one way to minimize the risk of serious injury or death if someone else causes a crash.