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#039;Click it or Ticket#039; campaign in full force

Once again law agencies from all over the state are about to crack down on traffic enforcement, especially regarding seat belts.

From August 26 through September 8, state law agencies will conduct checkpoints, line patrols, road blocks and saturation patrols to step up enforcement as part of a Labor Day Click it or Ticket seat belt safety campaign.

This will be the fourth Click it or Ticket campaign in the past two years.

Past campaigns have proven a success in increasing seat belt usage in the state, especially in the minority community.

Although Alabama's current seat belt usage rate is 79 percent, there remains work to be done because over 20 percent of the population still refuses to buckle up," said Colonel James Alexander, director of the Alabama Department of Public Safety. "This is especially true for men age 16 to 24. The seat belt usage rate for women in Alabama is 91 percent while the rate for men is only 68 percent. Therefore, this campaign will place a special emphasis on getting the male population to buckle up."

Targeting specific audiences has proven successful in previous Click it or Ticket campaigns. Because past research indicated that minorities used seat belts at a significantly lower rates than whites, past campaigns emphasized minority outreach.

The recent Memorial Day Click it or Ticket campaign informed the Latino community with Spanish TV and radio commercials, Spanish brochures and a Spanish web site.

Click it or Ticket information, in both English and Spanish, was also sent to every public school in the state.

In addition to this outreach, the Law Enforcement/Traffic Safety Division of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) conducted two Diversity Outreach Luncheons in an effort to build consensus and gain feedback from the Latino, African-American and Asian communities.

"We plan to use the same outreach and education methods on young men that we used in the Latino community," said Colonel Alexander. "Hopefully, by spreading the word that seat belts save lives to young men, we can increase the male seat belt usage rate in Alabama."

Prior to the Memorial Day campaign, the state's Latino seat belt usage rate was 60 percent. Since then, the Latino seat belt usage rate has increased an astounding 12 percentage points to 72 percent.

"The huge increase in the Latino seat belt usage rate can be attributed to the Click it or Ticket educational campaign," said Eliana Sanchez, the coordinator of the Community Interpreter Network with the Hispanic Interest Coalition for Alabama and a certified child passenger safety seat technician.

"I think that the outreach on Latino radio stations had the most influence

on getting Latinos to buckle up."

"Significant success has been made in making Alabama's minority population understand how important it is to buckle up," said James H. Fry, liaison and assistant director of ADECA. "It is our goal to have this same success with the general population and especially men. This crackdown is just as important as the first time we participated because

people are still putting lives at risk on our highways by refusing to buckle up. While we understand that men ages 16 to 24 are a hard group to persuade, we will not give up until everyone in Alabama is buckled up."

The Click it or Ticket campaign is a partnership between Gov. Don Siegelman, ADECA, The Alabama Department of Public Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.