The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today launched its 2015 “Click It or Ticket” campaign to encourage the use of life-saving seat belts. According to NHTSA’s data, in 2013, seat belts saved an estimated 12,584 lives among passenger vehicle occupants 5 and older. Historically, seat belts saved nearly 62,468 lives from 2009 to 2013.

"More would be with us"

“It’s simple: seat belts save lives. Thousands of Americans are alive today because they were wearing theirs during a crash,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “But thousands more would be with us if they had buckled up, and we will continue to urge every driver and passenger to use a seat belt.”

Seat belt use reached an all-time high of 87 percent in 2013, but failure to buckle up is a major factor in highway fatalities. In 2013, 9,580 Americans who died in crashes were not wearing a seat belt, which accounts for an estimated one-half of all fatalities when the victims’ seat belt status was known.

“The annual ‘Click It or Ticket’ campaign is built on a proven formula of safety education, strong laws and vigorous enforcement,” said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind.“

More than 10,000 law enforcement agencies nationwide will participate in the "Click It or Ticket" mobilization from May 18 through May 31. The campaign will also include paid advertising which will run from May 11 to May 25. View the ad.

Family shares stories of loss

At the press conference, the Johnson family from Loveland, CO, shared the tragic story of losing their teenage daughter. Watch their story

Along with the2013 Occupant Protection Fact Sheet, NHTSA also released the 2014 Seat Belt Use Rate Report. The report reveals that 19 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories of Guam and Northern Mariana Islands achieved belt use rates of 90 percent or higher.