The government says about 45 million Americans are not buckling up in their cars.
The Transportation Department released its estimate of seat belt use on Monday as it kicked off the annual "Click It or Ticket" campaign. The department says about 84 percent of motorists wear seat belts, an all-time high.
But Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says thousands of motorists are still dying each year because they don't buckle up. He says an average of 38 unbelted people a day are killed in motor vehicle crashes.
The "Click It or Ticket" campaign is running from May 24 through June 6. More than 10,000 police agencies will enforce seat belt laws. The message will be reinforced with $8 million in national advertising.
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