Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Dumbest. Idea. Ever.

I post the following news release verbatim and with punctuation as in the original with significant portions highlighted; I couldn't find it on the SHA's site. Since it is a release, I do not need permission to post this:

Contacts: Dana Gigliotti, 301-513-7472 (Prince George's County Community Traffic Safety Program)

Lora Rakowski, Jeremy Gunderson, 410-545-0303 (Maryland State Highway Administration)


Event Part of Click It or Ticket Campaign and Choose Safety for Life 100 Days of Safety

(May 14, 2008) - Could you use an extra buck? At the Capital Center in Largo today, hundreds of dollar bills were given out simply for obeying the law and buckling up. Your next chance to earn a buck is Thursday, May 15 at 11 a.m. at the Target Shopping Center located at 10500 Campus Way South in Largo. State Farm Insurance, the Prince George's County's Community Traffic Safety Program, part of the Maryland State Highway Administration Safety Office and the Maryland National Capital Park Police-Prince George's County will participate in the Buckle Up For A Buck campaign. As a featured activity in the Choose Safety for Life campaign's 100 Days of Safety, law enforcement officers and safety advocates will distribute $1 bills to drivers who have all occupants buckled up securely in their vehicles at the Capital Center in Largo, Maryland. Those riding unrestrained will receive educational materials about the effectiveness of seat belts and child safety seats in saving lives and reducing injuries

Nearly 630 people in Prince George's County lost their lives from motor vehicle crashes between 2002-2006. In 2006 (most recent data available), someone was killed in Prince George's County every three days in a motor vehicle crash. Contributing to this high fatality rate is the fact that Prince George's County has the lowest seat belt use in Maryland - only 89 percent of the county's motor vehicle drivers and front seat passengers currently buckle up, as compared to the statewide use rate of 93.1 percent. Tragically, the county has the highest number of motor vehicle deaths in the state.

"The Click It Or Ticket Campaign is not about writing tickets, it is about preventing traffic injuries that abruptly end lives and shatter the lives of those injured or left behind. Proper seat belt usage is unequivocally the primary reason why most drivers and passengers avoid serious physical injury when involved in a traffic crash," said Dana Gigliotti, Prince George's County Community Traffic Safety Program Director.

As part of the national Click It Or Ticket campaign, from now until the end of May, area law enforcement agencies in Prince George's County will take a zero tolerance approach when it comes to enforcing Maryland's seat belt law. Law enforcement would rather write a ticket for not using a seat belt rather than showing up at a door to tell a family that their loved one was killed.

The Buckle Up For A Buck program is meant to promote seat belt usage and to raise awareness of the traumatic results for those who choose not to buckle up.

The force of an impact from a 30 mph crash is like falling headfirst from a three-story building. Most crashes occur within 25 miles from home, in good weather.

Nationally, the number of traffic deaths in the United States is equivalent to a jumbo jet crashing, killing all aboard, every single day of every year. Over 40,000 people are killed and 3 million are injured each year from traffic crashes.

Needless deaths and injuries that result from non-use of seat belts cost society an estimated $26 billion annually in medical care, lost productivity and other compensation related costs.

The statewide Choose Safety for Life campaign, launched earlier this week, capitalizes on five key messages: B-SAFE - Buckle up, Slow down - speeding kills, Always drive sober, Focus, and Everyone share the road. For more information about how YOU can prevent traffic crash fatalities, please log on to

Psssst: The Capital Centre has been imploded for over five years now (note: no sound, although I bet the actual event was MUCH louder):

At least you didn't say it was in Landover instead of Largo. Did you mean The Boulevard at Capital Centre, by any chance?

Now I certainly grant that we don't get upset enough about highway deaths, and it's stupid not to wear a seat belt. Setting aside the fact that seat belt laws are also ridiculous (you can't legislate stupidity, and how the heck did not wearing a seat belt become a moving violation?), would someone explain to me how this cash-strapped state which Martin Owe-Malley is taxing into oblivion thinks bribing people to obey the law will help them to comply with it? Does the Owe-Malley administration really think this will be anything more than a (not-so) cheap PR campaign? Rather than being motivated, the citizens of Prince George's County should be insulted by this.

Also, this campaign must be from those who brought us the Violent Gun Turn-Ins. How's that working out?

Let's hope no one in the Owe-Malley administration ever read Calvin and Hobbes, or else we might get something like this in the Maryland school system in the near future:

I've got an idea, Dad. Maybe I'd get better grades if you offered me $1 for every "D", $5 for every "C". $10 for every "B", and $50 for every "A"!

I'm not going to bribe you Calvin, you should apply yourself for your own good.

Rats. I thought I could make an easy four bucks. --Bill Watterson