You might want to sit down for this one. This story is a cross between creativity and change. A powerful combination to be sure! Millions of dollars in ads, just as many tickets and fines, and far too much time and effort have fallen short in the never-ending campaign to get us to buckle our seat belts—a short and simple act that can and does save lives every day!
The increased probability of surviving a car crash hasn’t persuaded enough South Carolinians to buckle up, so the state’s highway patrol has turned to a more reliable incentive: Chick-Fil-A coupons.
The South Carolina Highway Patrol recently started rewarding free chicken sandwich vouchers to seat-belted drivers in three counties around Charleston. So far, officers have distributed 1,200 coupons.
But the coupons aren’t reserved for do-gooders. Officers typically size up drivers for seat belt use when they’re pulled over for moving violations, which means a South Carolinian caught speeding could end up with points on his license, a hefty fine, increased insurance premiums and a hand-breaded boneless chicken breast on a buttered bun.
Officers are also giving out coupons at seat belt checkpoints, and one officer reports he’s gotten into the habit of rewarding coupons to drivers who pull into gas stations with their seat belts buckled.
The program seems to be working: Local police officers say drivers, obviously aware of a seat belt’s worth, are now demanding Chick-Fil-A coupons when stopped.
The Highway Patrol hopes to take the program statewide next year.
South Carolina has lost 394 people on its roadways from not wearing their seat belts. Now citizens know the South Carolina Highway Patrol wants you to wear your seat belt, and Chick-Fil-A wants you to eat more chicken. It’s obviously a win-win-win situation, and it appears to be working. Congratulations to everyone involved.