Public Awareness Campaign
To comply with Massachusetts' safety belt laws (Chapter 90, §13A), individuals must first be aware of and then understand how the laws are enforced ( View the secondary belt law ). Below are suggested strategies for a public awareness campaign:
- Conduct a presentation file size 3MB for your board of selectmen, city council, local government officials, or community group. A presentation to a parents' group, scout meeting, high school kids, faith-based or diverse community organization or other community forum, such as community cable access television, on the proper use and benefits of safety belts and/or child safety seats is a great way to get people involved in the issue.
- Distribute information, such as a safety belt hand card at an intersection, entrance to a shopping mall or other high visibility location. This activity will attract attention to the safety belt issue through positive interaction with motorists. EOPSS/HSD has a limited number of handcards available upon request.
- Post an EOPSS/HSD Click It or Ticket Banner previously provided in a high-visibility community location; additional banners are no longer available.
- Utilize programmable Variable Message Sign (VMS) Boards or electronic message boards or consider marquees in front of businesses or houses of worship.
- Utilize EOPSS/HSD provided magnetic cruiser strip signs while conducting enforcement activity; additional magnetic signs are no longer available.
- Involve local government officials in your safety belt program. Ask the Mayor or Chair of the Board of Selectmen to announce your participation in the EOPSS/HSD May Click It or Ticket (CIOT) Campaign with a community proclamation . A proclamation will draw more attention to your efforts. In addition to the May CIOT Campaign, departments can also utilize proclamations to announce a Buckle Up week or month within the community.
Involve the local high school in your safety belt program by asking that the principal ( Download cover letter to principals )or a member of the student body read pre-scripted homeroom announcements reminding students of the importance of buckling up every time they get into a vehicle. It is critical to educate teenagers to provide them with the tools to make positive decisions behind the wheel as they reach the age of eligibility for licensure.
Saved by the Belt
Reach out to police officers or members of the community to share their stories of being saved by their safety belt during an automobile crash. To highlight the issue, consider asking the local press to cover such stories and include photographs of the damaged vehicle(s). Departments may also wish to provide 'Saved by the Belt' plaques or certificates ( Download Watertown PD sample certificate and/or Download Watertown PD sample 'Saved by the Belt' narrative ) to members of the public who come forward with such stories.
Safety Belt Pledge Drive
The purpose of a pledge drive is to appeal to each individual, stressing the intrinsic rewards of wearing a safety belt ( View a sample safety belt pledge card ). To begin this activity, think about community locations that will enable face-to-face interaction that could be used for pledge card distribution, such as:
- Local Stores/Businesses/Non-Profit Organizations
- Community Events (health fairs, carnivals, school sporting events, town meetings)
Ask each person to fill out the bottom portion of the pledge card ( View a sample pledge card prepared by the Lexington Police Department ) and return it to you; individuals should keep the informational portion at the top of the card for their reference. To enhance this activity, you can use the pledge card as a raffle entry (ask local businesses to donate prizes) or post them at a high visibility location, such as a storefront window, to demonstrate participation levels.
Thank You Ticket Campaign
Motorists "caught" wearing their safety belts - on their way into parking lots, at intersections and at fast food drive up windows - are given Thank You Tickets. The tickets can either entitle the bearer to a discount at a local store or be returned to the police department for entry into a raffle. Community support for the idea is essential. Local businesses can support the effort by donating raffle prizes or by providing discounts to Thank You Ticket bearers. Departments may also consider giving Thank You Tickets to motorists stopped for traffic infractions ( View a sample Thank You Ticket prepared by the Somerville Police Department ), using the interaction as an educational opportunity.