Nearly half of occupants in passenger vehicles that were killed in crashes in 2014 were not wearing seatbelts, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). That troubling statistic is behind the annual Click It or Ticket safety campaign launched last week by the NHTSA, the Department of Transportation and a number of local agencies. During the effort, law enforcement officers will be out in full force, ticketing drivers and passengers who are not wearing their seat belts.

Despite a steady rise in the seat belt use rate – to 88.5 percent in 2014 -- “Far too many people are still dying because they are not buckled up during crashes,” said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind. His advice to drivers: “Before you even turn the key, make sure that everyone in your car has their seat belt on, every trip, day and night.”

There are some noteworthy differences in seat belt use. Women tend to use them more than men; 53 percent of men in fatal crashes were unbelted, compared to 40 percent of women. Additionally, fewer people use them at night; 57 percent of passenger vehicle occupants killed at night were not wearing their seat belts, compared to 41 percent killed during daytime.

Traffic safety experts say save lives during accidents; an estimated 12,802 in 2014, and 63,000 from 2010 to 2014.

The Click It or Ticket nationwide mobilization will include a paid advertising campaign, which runs from May 16-June 5, and an enforcement period, which takes place from May 23-June 5.