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Click it or ticket

While listening to the radio yesterday, I heard two public service announcements sponsored by the Department of Transportation warning drivers that police will be strictly enforcing seatbelt laws starting this weekend.

(Likely as a prelude to the upcoming Memorial Day weekend crackdown.) This really isn’t news–we’ve all heard the “Click it or ticket” marketing tagline before. But it made me wonder how big a problem seatbelt scofflaws really are.

So I performed an admittedly unscientific survey. Namely, I used my superior eyesight to scrutinize the driver of every car I came across during the next twenty-four hours, trying to get a rough idea of the percentage of drivers who motor along sans safety restraints. To my surprise, I didn’t notice a single person who opted to go without.

I grew up in an era during which pretty much no one wore seatbelts (as a child, sitting untethered in the front passenger seat, my mother would attempt to restrain me during hard braking using her extended right arm). But since 1984, when New York became the first state to mandate seatbelt usage, the campaign to get drivers to buckle up has been largely successful–and has no doubt saved thousands of lives.

So, to the police and the Department of Transportation: go ahead and enforce those seatbelt laws. But I’m betting that you won’t find too many violators.

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