May 23, 2016

Background

Unbelted drivers and passenger vehicle occupants are a serious problem in our region and across the country. In 2014, of the 21,022 passenger vehicle occupants who were killed in motor vehicle crashes nationwide, 49 percent were NOT wearing seat belts at the time of their fatal crashes. Unfortunately, the problem of unbelted passenger vehicle occupants becomes worse at night.   Nationally, 59 percent of the 10,118 passenger vehicle occupants who were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes overnight (6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m.) in 2013 were not wearing their seat belts at the time of the fatal crash, compared to 43 percent during the daytime hours. Seat belts are the most effective safety feature ever invented and have helped save thousands of lives. Sadly, one in five Americans fail to regularly wear a seat belt when driving or riding in a motor vehicle.

NHTSA research has shown that high-visibility enforcement (HVE) is a maximally effective countermeasure that involves highly publicized periods of increased belt law enforcement, a pre- and post-mobilization evaluation, and strong paid and earned media support. The Click it or Ticket (CIOT) campaign, an annual national HVE mobilization occurring in May, has helped States make great strides in increasing belt usage rates and reducing unrestrained injuries and fatalities since 2003.

Within the law enforcement community, however, seat belt enforcement efforts have waned in recent years, with reasons ranging from decreased grant funding, to reductions in traffic enforcement patrols, to campaign “fatigue” among patrol officers desiring more innovative programs. To assure the CIOT campaign does not lose momentum in Region 2 and its neighboring States and continues to drive down unrestrained injury and death, we propose a CIOT Border to Border Operation on Monday, May 23, 2016.

 

Border to Border Purpose and Overview

The Border to Border Operation is a focused one-day effort coordinated by participating State highway safety offices and their respective law enforcement liaisons that is aimed to reduce seat belt fatalities in our region by maintaining the “Click It or Ticket” brand.   By coordinating highly visible seat belt enforcement checkpoints and details at well-traveled State border sites, Border to Border aims to both increase law enforcement participation and garner more earned media during the mobilization.

In 2015, 613 law enforcement agencies from 16 States from NHTSA Regions 1, 2, 3 and 4 formally participated in the 2015 Click it or Ticket Border-to-Border (CIOT B2B) operation: Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia. While additional neighboring States and provincial police from Canada also participated in the enforcement operation, the below summary is limited to data supplied by the 16 participant States listed above:

  • During the operation, participating law enforcement issued citations for 4,270 seat belt and child safety seat violations, as well as 7,044 citations for other traffic infractions
  • A total of 211 checkpoints were conducted across the sixteen participating States, covered by 41 television news stations and 132 newspaper stories
  • The Region 2 media contractor developed a Border-to-Border infographic, as well, which many participant States used in their owned media – through Twitter, Facebook and on the web – to reach audiences online.

This year we would like to build on our successes. With increased advance planning time, our state partners will be afforded a greater opportunity for input into the operation. In an effort to address low seat belt use at night, one the goals of this year’s operation is to mobilize HVE operations, both day and night, on the highways and interstates at the borders of the states in Region 2 as well as selected states in Region 1 , 3, 4, and 5. This operation taking place on May 23, 2016 includes both interstates and local roadways.

 

Strategy

The operation will include state, county and city/municipal law enforcement agencies. By demonstrating law enforcement solidarity and increased presence at border sites, we hope to send a ‘zero tolerance’ message to the public. This message reinforces that driving or riding unbuckled will result in a ticket, even when crossing State lines.  Simultaneously, we aim to revitalize law enforcement’s enthusiasm during the upcoming mobilization with this fresh approach. Since the goal of the operation is to include both day and night enforcement, it would be preferable if enforcement efforts overlap these times. Therefore, the targeted period of the operation will be from 6PM-10PM.     Methods for enforcement, i.e., checkpoints, saturated patrols, target enforcement zones, etc., are to be determined by the law enforcement agencies.

 

Media

The Region 2 media contractor, in conjunction with the R2 contract officer, LEL and media contractors from other participating regions, will coordinate with participating State public affairs contacts to develop earned and owned media strategies, including press releases, social media releases and infographics, and possible large-scale press events. State highway safety offices will be responsible for investing in paid media as desired, and the Region 2 media contractor will work with participating States to seek partner support.

Earned media materials, used by State and local law enforcement participants, will be developed based upon the NHTSA Product for Enforcement Action Kit (PEAK).

 

Reporting

Participating States will be asked to submit two reporting forms:

  • A work plan summary, which provides basic details about the State’s planned enforcement sites. Work plan summaries should be developed by the assigned State Coordinator, and submitted to Shannon Purdy and Mike Morris no later than May 1, 2016.
  • A post-operation summary, which provides basic law enforcement and media activity data from the four-hour operation. Post-operation summaries should be filed with NHTSA regional LELs from Region 1, 3, 4 and 5; the regional LELs will then submit reports to Mike Morris no later than June 1, 2016.