PHOENIX – Football and traffic safety might not appear to have much in common. But the two converge at a critical connection: protection.
Consider that the safety gear worn by football players has the same purpose as a seat belt – help the wearer survive a violent collision.
So, it's no surprise that the Arizona Department of Transportation and Arizona Cardinals left tackle and Captain Jared Veldheer have partnered to promote the importance of wearing a seat belt with the Seat belts. For life. campaign. On Arizona roadways in 2015, there were 258 unrestrained occupant fatalities, which accounts for 29 percent of the people killed in traffic crashes that year. Lack of seat belt use is annually one of the leading factors in traffic deaths.
"I wouldn't play football without wearing a helmet and shoulder pads, and I won't drive my truck without wearing a seat belt," Veldheer said. "Being safe is being smart."
For the Seat belts. For life. campaign, two public service announcements were produced – "Strong Man" and "Safety Gear" – and each has a 30- and 15-second version. The PSAs can be viewed at azdot.gov, ADOT's social media channels – Facebook, Twitter and YouTube – and will also appear on television during the fall, thanks to ADOT's relationship with the Arizona Broadcasters Association.
ADOT is excited to partner with Veldheer and thanks him for volunteering his time for the Seat belts. For life. campaign. Working with the seven-year NFL pro on the subject of seat belts is a natural fit. His left tackle position protects the quarterback's blind side the same way a seat belt provides security against the unknown for vehicle occupants. In the past five years on Arizona roadways, there have been 1,205 unrestrained occupant fatalities.
"Buckling a seat belt is the easiest thing to do when you get in a car," ADOT Director John Halikowski said. "Its sole purpose is to help you survive a crash. Let the seat belt do its job – buckle up."
"More than one in 10 Arizonans don't wear a seat belt," added Alberto Gutier, director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. "Needless tragedies continue because people aren't wearing a seat belt and parents need to make sure their children are properly restrained, too."