May 18, 2005
COLUMBIA – The South Carolina Department of Public Safety announces that University of South Carolina Head Football Coach Steve Spurrier has partnered with DPS to create radio and television public service announcements promoting seat belt safety.
Spurrier donated his time to film PSAs that will air on television and radio to raise awareness for safety belt use in South Carolina, which has a usage rate of about 66 percent compared to the 81 percent national average.
An excerpt from the PSA: “We would never send our players into a game without the proper equipment. That would be foolish and dangerous. So is not buckling your seat belt. I do it, my family does it, and we expect our players to do it,” Coach Steve Spurrier.
The public service announcement was filmed prior to the beginning of the Buckle Up, South Carolina, campaign, which kicks off today with four statewide news conferences.
“When we discussed this idea with Coach Spurrier, it was obvious that buckling up was an issue close to his heart,” said DPS Director James K. Schweitzer. “We know that sometimes the choice to buckle up can simply come down to peer pressure. We’re hoping that Coach Spurrier’s star power in a state of football fans will make buckling up the cool thing to do.”
Federal occupant restraint grant funds were used to pay for the spots. However, SCDPS will be asking television and radio stations to donate air time to run the PSAs.
Buckling up is the single most effective step motorists can take to keep themselves safe when riding in a motor vehicle. Even in a serious collision, a person’s chances of survival improve dramatically when they are buckled up.
Safety belts are 45 percent effective in reducing fatalities among occupants in passenger cars and 60 percent effective in light trucks. In 2004, 73 percent of occupants killed in passenger vehicles in South Carolina were not buckled up. Statistics suggest that many – if not the majority – would have been saved if they had chosen to buckle up.
“I have seen catastrophic motor vehicle collisions where a properly restrained person walks away with barely a scratch,” said Highway Patrol Col. Russell F. Roark III. “On the other side of the equation, I’ve seen motorists die in relatively minor collisions of massive trauma from the impact of a low-speed collision.”
The demographic least likely to buckle up and most likely to be involved in a collision is the 18-34 year old male – a similar demographic that could be used to describe many football fans. Pick-up trucks are a particular focus for public education during this year’s BUSC campaign because pick-up trucks are disproportionately represented in fatal collisions in South Carolina and throughout the nation. Pick-up truck occupants killed in crashes are most often male (83%) and most often between the ages of 18 to 39 years old.
In a study conducted by the SCDPS Office of Highway Safety,
- women continue to be more likely than men to use safety belts (75.4% to 64.2%);
- passengers are less likely than drivers to use safety belts (64.5% to 66.7%);
- white occupants had a higher rate of use than non-white occupants (69.5% to 56.7%).