The Press Newspaper
Police buckling down on motorists who don’t buckle up
During 2007, more than 14,000 people in passenger vehicles died in crashes while unbelted.
About half of these lives could have been saved if they had wearing seat belts at the time of the crash.
As sad as this statistic is, the numbers are even worse at night than during the day, according to new figures released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Nationwide in 2007, 14,464 passenger vehicle occupants died in highway crashes during evening and nighttime hours (6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m.). Sixty-three percent of those killed in crashes (8,319) were not wearing their seat belts. By contrast, during daylight hours, 45 percent (5,917) of those killed were not wearing seat belts.
In Ottawa County, three vehicle occupants died during 2007, however, that number rose to eight during 2008. That’s why the Genoa Police Department is joining state and local law enforcement agencies and highway safety groups in supporting an aggressive national “Click It or Ticket” seat belt enforcement campaign from May 18 through May 31.
Police will be ticketing unbelted vehicle occupants around the clock-day and night.
“Consistent research has shown that fewer people are buckling up at night when the risk of being in a fatal crash is greatest,” said Chief Randy E. Hill. “That’s why the Genoa Police Department will be out in force at night a well as during the day to make sure that drivers and passengers take seat belts and seat belt laws seriously.”
Chief Hill added that regular seat belt use is the single most effective way to protect people and reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes. He noted that, when worn correctly, seat belts have been proven to reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants by 45 percent and by 60 percent in pickup trucks, SUVs and minivans.
Seat belts are the single most effective piece of safety equipment in a vehicle, yet NHTSA observational studies show that nearly one out of five Americans still fails to wear a seat belt when driving or riding in a motor vehicle.
Stepped-up law enforcement activities will be conducted during the 2009 Click It or Ticket mobilization period from May 18-31. The mobilization is being supported by an $8 million national paid advertising campaign advising drivers to buckle up, especially at night.
“Seat belts clearly save lives, but unfortunately, too many folks still need a tough reminder, so we are going to be out in force day and night in 2009 buckling down on those who are not buckled up,” Chief Hill said.
“Wearing your seat belt costs you nothing, but not wearing it will,” he said. “So unless you want to risk a ticket, or worse, your life, please remember to buckle up night and day. Don’t forget, Click It or Ticket isn’t just a campaign slogan, it’s a promise.”
For more information, visit www.nhtsa.gov.