Your Money, Your Life, or Your Safety Seat Belts

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A seat belt is one of those things in life that just doesn't make sense to about 40,000,000 people in the United States.  After all, freedom of choice is the Free World cornerstone and when it comes to our automobiles, we want to ride them any way we choose.

"Liberty or death!" shouts a protestor on the nightly news. He values his God-given Freedoms to drive without fear of an illegal search and seizure. “The people,” he contends, “aren’t idiots and can govern their own safety.”

Courts determine whether driving without safety seat belts is a Right or a Privilege, but "by God we will defend our freedoms 'till our dying breath."

Unfortunately, that’s just what happens each year. What these people don’t realize is just what choice they are making when they drive without a seat belt wrapped around everyone in the car.

Government and industry have sponsored multi-million dollar safety seat belt awareness campaigns for decades. Seat belt use has climbed, but only slowly through the years until recently. It’s easy to recognize at least one popular national seat belt slogan:

  • Buckle Up For Safety
  • Seat Belts Save Lives
  • Buckle Up America

Officer Friendly would appear in class to teach all about car safety. He didn’t come into every room, so some of us were indoctrinated with second hand playground news.

State sponsored campaigns are less well known. Missouri had the lowest state seat belt usage as the year 2000 approached according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association ( NHTSA ).

Only 60% of Missourians wore safety seat belts, so in a $300,000 concerted research effort, the State of Missouri studied advertising strategies that would appeal to all age groups. Radio stations received Public Service Announcements, 64 local newspapers printed press releases while two carefully selected slogans were printed on 26 billboards that read:

"It takes 3 seconds to buckle up. Dead is Forever"

"You think a zit is bad? Try a windshield."

Did the State of Missouri reach the target audience?
Seat belt use among all age groups…

» Safety Seat Belts Page 2




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