Say it, don’t spray it.

clickitarmy.jpgAnybody else noticed the recent glut of ìClick It or Ticketî warnings on the radio stations and freeways of Los Angeles? I know theyíre only trying to save lives, but these spots make me want to unlatch my seatbelt if only out of spite. Am I not capable of deciding whether or not to wear a seatbelt on my own? And with 90.4 percent of Californians already wearing seatbelts, is a $3.3 million marketing campaign really a good use of funds? This press release explains the statewide effort, but not the annoying catch-phrase.

“CHP Deputy Commissioner Farrow said that the patrol is deeply committed toward raising seat belt use in California. ìThe simplest and most effective action a motor vehicle driver or occupant can do to save their life is to spend two seconds and buckle a seat belt.î

Now thatís a reasonable cost/benefit analysis. Two seconds versus death? Iíll take a seatbelt, thank you very much. But ìIt only takes 2 secondsî just doesnít have the poetic flippancy of the familiar ìClick It or Ticket!î

Is it me or do the ticketing authorities of Los Angeles and California (and other states) bandy this ìClick It or Ticketî catch-phrase about in a particularly self-satisfied manner? I imagine uniformed commissioners repressing smug smiles, like theyíre SOO pleased with the clever rhyme, but too bureaucratic to admit it. In fact, the implicit pleasure taken in the obvious couplet suggests a smarmy self-righteousness I find quite annoying as well as paternalistic.

And now I’m on a roll…


And why now have state and local officials decided to dust off the threat of a cash penalty for unprotected automobile operation? A large donation from a wealthy donor with a dead loved one? A recent increase in seatbelt preventable freeway deaths? The onset of the summer driving season? Or a subversive strategy to extract greater fines? The radio spots do after all point out that ìthis is your warning.î Whatís the haps and why do we even put up with this paternalistic law? First seatbelts, next your thoughts!

And has anyone looked into a statistical analysis of the number of seatbelt-preventable freeway deaths and dismemberments versus deaths and dismemberments attributable to the freeway use of, um, maybeÖcell phones?! Perhaps Iíll find myself grinning the same self-satisfied smile as the transportation authorities when freeway signs and radio spots admonish us all to ìUse It and Lose It!î. I can already hear the ruckus raised by the cellular telecommunications industry and the whining fuss of many an Angeleno complaining, ìNo you wonít take my Razr!î

The press release goes on to state ìthe California Office of Traffic Safety recently awarded more than $4.8 million to 250 local law enforcement agencies to pay for officer overtime associated with seat belt enforcementî. Why should seat belt enforcement require overtime pay?

10 thoughts on “Say it, don’t spray it.”

  1. I just came back from Orange County and found one of those mysterious slowdowns on the 5 north … what do you think was causing it? An Amber alert on the freeway signs? Nah, it was the Click it or Ticket reminder.

    By all means, let’s slow down the 5 in one of the rare weekends where we were going 50 MPH!

  2. I traveled the same stretch of the 5 today. Hit the traffic returning Southbound as well. It appears to be on all of the message boards. VERY ANNOYING!

  3. I was in Hawaii (the Big Island, mostly around K-K) and saw these “click it or ticket” signs all over the place. If they’re also in LA/OC, NC and TEX, it sure looks like a national campaign. But by who, and why?

    (Certainly it’s not the CHP on a revenue quest.)

  4. wow. someone has some serious issues with authority.

    why not just chill out and don’t get your panties in such a wad. damn. the thing on the 5 is pretty irritating, but a self-righteous rant about wanting to unbuckle because the radio wants you to buckle up? What, are you some sort of rebellious teenager?

    And if you’re so anti-paternalism and anti-“telling me what to do” I can’t help but think you’d be the first to be posting a rant about any sort of cellphone regulation on the freeway. why not just chill out and find something more interesting to post about?

  5. There should be a campaign surrounding the mass murdering inducing phrase:
    “Turn that frown upside down.”
    Just to get the road rage going in full swing.

  6. I echo Benjamin. Well said.

    People wearing seatbelts don’t die as often. Traffic fatalities cause far-worse congestion than other accidents. I’m all for less traffic, so click your damn belt!

    If you don’t like the law, find like-minded people to help you get it changed. If Cali’s regulations really bother you that much, maybe another state’s laws & practices won’t.

  7. I find it a bit unfair that Matt getting his panties in a righteous bunch gets him accused of being anti-authoritarian and dismissed and demeaned as a problem child, yet Benjamin getting his panties in a righteous bunch over Matt’s thoughts is somehow nicely articulated.

    Personally, Benjamin’s alternate point of view would have been much more “well said” with out the sniping.

  8. Campaign being one thing, but apparently they’re doing good on the promise of “Click it or ticket.” Spotted a CHP on motorcycle outside of Pasadena’s LA Fitness preying on people entering garage and ticketing them for not wearing seatbelts. Some people (read: me) have this habit of taking off belts before entering garage to reach out to the ticket feeder – bam! instant ticket.

    Other places in Pasadena to watch out – the length of Colorado and anywhere near Old Town Pasadena.

  9. This must be a federal highway campaign or tied to some sort of federal funding because there’s a huge banner on the side of police headquarters in downtown Austin right now along with a billboard less than a mile away. It’s striking, but I can’t tell if it’s affecting traffic because that stretch of I-35 is almost always slow anyway.

    I’ll try and post some photos on Austin Metblog tonight.

  10. I always wear the belt anyway. (Always have, always will. The dynamics are convincing enough.) But I wonder about the PR campaign and the Big Brother tactics… Rather like the Maryland state police using night vision goggles to better target and catch violators.

    “A piece of electronic equipment that’s often used by military personnel in Afghanistan and Iraq is now being used by police in Maryland to catch seat belt violators.

    Wednesday night at a seat-belt enforcement checkpoint, police from several Maryland agencies started using night-vision goggles to see if motorists were buckled up.” […]

    I still wonder if this is for better public safety or enhanced state revenue.

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