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2012-05-24

'Click It or Ticket' boosts seat belt use - day & night

Contributed

Motorists who refuse to wear seat belts should beware. The 2012 national "Click It or Ticket" seat belt enforcement mobilization that kicked off Monday May 21 will be in full swing during the Memorial Day weekend. Simply put, the campaign helps save lives by cracking down on those who don't buckle up.

Deputies with the Bandera County Sheriff's Office join other state and local law enforcement officers and highway safety advocates across the country to enforce seat belt laws around the clock.

According to the US Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2010 nationally, 61 percent of the 10,647 passenger vehicle occupants who were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes overnight - from 6 pm to 5:59 am - were not wearing their seat belts at the time of the fatal crash. This is compared to 42 percent during the daytime hours.

"Too many drivers and passengers on the road at night are not wearing their seat belts, and it all too often ends in tragedy," said BCSO Chief Deputy Richard Smith. "Our goal is to save more lives. Deputies with the Bandera County Sheriff's Office will enforce seat belt laws around the clock."

Each year, seat belt use saves thousands of lives across America and Bandera County Sheriff's Office is helping spread the word. NHTSA statistics show that in 2010 alone, seat belts saved an estimated 12,546 lives nationwide.

Yet, too many motorists may need a tough reminder. In 2010, 22,187 passenger vehicle occupants were killed in motor vehicle crashes, according to NHTSA, and 51 percent of them were not wearing seat belts at the time of their fatal crashes.

Younger motorists and men are particularly at risk. NHTSA data shows that in 2010, among teen and young adult passenger vehicle occupants ages 18 to 34 years who were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes, 62 percent were not buckled up at the time of the crash - the highest percentage of any age group.

The number jumps to 66 percent when just men in this age group are included.

While this year's "" enforcement mobilization runs from May 21 through June 3, motorists should know that officers are out enforcing seat belt laws year-round.

"Those who choose not to wear a seat belt will feel the heat from our officers who will be out cracking down on 'Click It or Ticket' violators. Motorists should buckle up every time they go out, both day and night," Smith said. "Our officers are prepared to ticket anyone not buckled up - no warnings and no excuses.

Remember, 'Click It or Ticket'."

For more on the national "Click It or Ticket" mobilization, visit www.nhtsa.gov.