"Buckle Up in Your Truck" Campaign Going Well

May 5, 2006 – Posted at 2:39 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, AR -- A report out says young men are the least likely to buckle up, but Arkansas is trying to change that.

Nationally, in 2004, 67% of male drivers and 73% of male passengers between the ages 18 and 34 who were killed in crashes were not wearing their safety belts.

According to the NHTSA, pickup truck drivers and passengers consistently have the lowest safety belt usage rates of all motorists. Regular safety belt use is the single most effective way to protect drivers and riders and reduce traffic related deaths in motor vehicle crashes.

A new public service ad campaign is targeting pick up truck drivers to buckle up. Only 68% of Arkansans remember to buckle up when they get behind the wheel. Safety belt use in pickup trucks is a full 10% lower in Arkansas then the national average.

NHTSA research shows that pickup trucks in fatal crashes roll over twice as often as passenger cars. Ejection is the most common cause of injuries and fatalities in rollover crashes. Seat belts reduce the risk of dying in a pickup truck rollover crash by up to 80%.

"Fewer people buckle up in their trucks in our state then they do in passenger vehicles. You are also more likely if you are in a roll over accident in a pickup truck to be ejected and seriously, if not fatally injured," said Lorie Ring with the Arkansas State Police.

In 2004, pickups, vans and SUVs accounted for more than 40% of all deadly rural vehicle crashes. But the "Buckle Up in Your Truck" ad campaign is hitting home with most drivers.

"With this campaign, they are going to have surveys. There will be troopers posted in different areas, conducting surveys as to how many people are buckled up versus not buckled up with a special emphasis on the pickup truck," said Ring.

Every year more than 1,000 pickup occupants are killed in traffic accidents in south central states.