DOWNEY – May 18 marks the beginning of the annual “Click It or Ticket” campaign, when police officers will show zero tolerance for drivers not properly secured by a seat belt. “Every day, unbuckled motorists are losing their lives in motor vehicle crashes,” said Police Chief Carl Charles. “As we approach Memorial Day weekend and the summer vacation season, we want to make sure people are doing the one best thing that can save them in a crash, buckling up.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly half of the 21,132 passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in 2013 were unrestrained. At night from 6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m., that number soared to 59 percent of those killed.
That’s why one focus of the “Click It or Ticket” campaign is nighttime enforcement, officials said. Participating law enforcement agencies will be taking a no-excuses approach to seat belt law enforcement, writing citations day and night.
In California, the minimum penalty for a seat belt violation is $161.
Officers will conduct 10 nighttime seat belt enforcement operations during the two week “Click It Or Ticket” mobilization to help lower California’s traffic deaths. In addition to these special patrols, officers on routine patrol will also be looking for unrestrained drivers and passengers.
California statistics reveal that 500 unrestrained vehicle occupants died in 2013. Almost twice as many males were killed in crashes as compared to females, with lower belt use rates too. Of the males killed in crashes in 2013, more than half (54%) were unrestrained. For females killed in crashes, 41 percent were not buckled up.
“If you ask the family members of those unrestrained people who were killed in crashes, they’ll tell you—they wish their loved ones had buckled up,” added Chief Charles. “The bottom line is that seat belts save lives. If these enforcement crackdowns get people’s attention and get them to buckle up, then we’ve done our job.”
Funding for these operations is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Published: May 14, 2015 - Volume 14 - Issue 05