Buckling up is one of the most important things every driver and passenger can do to stay safe in a crash. Former Packers star Donald Driver is once again teaming up with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to raise awareness of this simple safety step, kicking off the annual Click It or Ticket campaign at a news conference in Milwaukee.
Wisconsin’s seat belt use is dropping. Last year, about 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 behind the national rate of about 90%.
At the same time, states across the country are seeing a rise in fatal crashes. About 150 people have died on Wisconsin roads since the start of 2022.
“We can put an end to those horrific crashes we see every day on Wisconsin’s highways. We need every person across the state to take responsibility for highway safety,” WisDOT Secretary Craig Thompson said. “Buckle your seat belt and put your phone down. Every trip, every time. It’s that simple.”
The annual Click It or Ticket campaign is a nationwide law enforcement effort that runs from May 23 through June 5. Law enforcement agencies across Wisconsin will be out on patrol to raise public awareness and encourage seat belt use.
Wisconsin’s primary seat belt law allows law enforcement to stop and cite drivers for failing to wear a seat belt. Drivers can also be cited for every unbuckled passenger in their vehicle. The goal is not simply to issue citations but encourage a long-term change in driver and passenger behavior.
“You can’t always control what others are doing on the roads. It can be a dangerous place if others are being reckless but wearing a seat belt is one of the most important things you can do to survive a crash,” Wisconsin State Patrol Superintendent Anthony Burrell said.
Former Packer Donald Driver is committed to encouraging seat belt use. As WisDOT’s Click It or Ticket spokesperson, he is featured in a new animated video that is part of a public awareness campaign launching later this month.
“The unfortunate reality is that buckling up is not a habit for many people. When I buckle up, I buckle up for my family. I want to come home to them and I want each of them to make a habit of wearing a seat belt every time they get behind the wheel or ride in a car,” Driver said.
Before Wisconsin’s seat belt law took effect in 2009, the state’s seat belt use rate was under 74%. That number increased significantly thanks to ongoing public education, including ads featuring Donald Driver, and law enforcement efforts. WisDOT continues urging safety measures to reach a goal of zero deaths on Wisconsin roads.