As St. Lawrence County residents prepare to celebrate the unofficial start of summer, state police will be cracking down on seat belt violations.
On Memorial Day weekend, state police are urging everyone to buckle up. This week law enforcement officials are out in full force, taking part in the 2014 National Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement mobilization and cracking down on motorists who are not belted.
“As we kick-off the busy summer driving season, it is critical that everyone buckles up every time they go out, day and night – no excuses,” said Major Richard C. Smith, Jr., Troop “ B” Commander. “Our Troopers are prepared to ticket anyone who is not wearing their seat belt, including drivers that have neglected to properly buckle their children. – Click It or Ticket.”
Law enforcement agencies across the east coast are mobilizing in the Click It or Ticket (CIOT) “Border to Border” Operation. The aim is to provide increased seat belt enforcement at state borders, sending a ‘zero tolerance’ message to the public: driving or riding unbuckled will result in a ticket, no matter what state.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 52 percent of the 21,253 passenger vehicle occupants killed in 2011 were not wearing their seat belts at the time of the crash. And unbelted fatalities are more prevalent at night than during the daytime. According to NHTSA, 62 percent of the 10,135 passenger vehicle occupants killed in 2011 during the overnight hours of 6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m. were not wearing their seat belts at the time of the crash.
Tragically, these national statistics are mirrored locally. In 2013, State Police in Troop “B” investigated eight fatal motor vehicle crashes between the overnight hours of 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. three of the crashes involved unrestrained passenger vehicle occupants that were killed, compared to 11 fatal motor vehicle crashes and only two fatalities, where occupants who were unrestrained were killed during daytime crashes.
“Seat belts save thousands of lives every year, but far too many motorists are still not buckling up, especially at night when the risk of getting in a crash is even greater,” said Major Smith. “We want to make this the safest summer possible. Buckling up is not optional; it’s the difference between life and death in a crash. That’s why we’re out here enforcing the law. Click it or ticket, every time, day or night.”
In 2011, seat belts saved an estimated 11,949 lives nationwide according to NHTSA. While this year’s Click It or Ticket enforcement mobilization runs from May 19 through June 1, officers are out enforcing seat belt laws year-round.
For more on the national Click It or Ticket mobilization, please visit www.nhtsa.gov.