Anybody 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 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?