Listed below are five safety belt initiatives that departments can choose to conduct at any time during the year at little to no cost to the community. If you are the recipient of an FFY 2011 high-visibility Traffic Enforcement Grant, the department's time and any resources used to assist with these community safety belt initiatives can be recorded as part of your required minimum 25% In-Kind Match for the Traffic Enforcement Grant Program.

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 pdf format of Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 90, §13A ). Below are suggested strategies for a public awareness campaign:

  • Conduct a presentation ppt format of Sample Public Awareness/Local Government... 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 doc format of Sample Buckle Up 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.

Homeroom Announcements

Involve the local high school in your safety belt program by asking that the principal ( Download cover letter to principals doc format of Cover Letter to Principals on Homeroom... )or a member of the student body read pre-scripted homeroom announcements doc format of 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 doc format of Watertown Police Department Sample 'Saved by... and/or Download Watertown PD sample 'Saved by the Belt' narrative doc format of Watertown Police Department Sample 'Saved by... ) 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 doc format of 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 doc format of Lexington Police Department Sample Safety Belt... ) 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 doc format of Somerville Police Department Sample Thank You... ), using the interaction as an educational opportunity.