NASCAR, DOT urge NC drivers to 'Click It or Ticket'

Posted May 21, 2012 7:18 a.m. EDT
Updated May 21, 2012 9:12 a.m. EDT

— NASCAR drivers and local sheriff's deputies team up in new ads to encourage North Carolina drivers to buckle up.

The public-service announcements started airing as the North Carolina Governor's Highway Safety Program launched its annual "Click It or Ticket" campaign Monday, during which state troopers and local law enforcement crack down on drivers not wearing their seat belts.

One ad shows NASCAR drivers speeding around Charlotte Motor Speedway, bumper-to-bumper at 190 mph. A sheriff's deputy stops a race car driver and asks, "Are you buckled?" The driver answers emphatically, "Always."

The ad is designed to elicit a light-hearted chuckle, but it has a deadly serious message that another PSA drives home more explicitly.

A camera pulls back from a calm ocean to show a beach filled with empty chairs. Gov. Bev Perdue's voice says, "Nearly 500 beach chairs will remain empty this summer to represent the 484 North Carolinians who were killed last year because they were unbuckled."

Lisa Mozingo, a Wayne County high school student paralyzed in a 2009 wreck when she wasn't wearing a seat belt, will also speak at the"Click It or Ticket" kickoff at the Charlotte speedway Monday.

This year's crackdown runs through June 3, and nearly all law enforcement agencies in the state are participating, according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation. A ticket for not using a seat belt carries more than $125 in fines and court costs.

Since the "Click It or Ticket" campaign began in 1993, more than 89 percent of North Carolina drivers have started buckling up, according to the DOT.