Union City police join seat belt usage campaign
Union City police are joining state and local law enforcement agencies and highway safety officials beginning Monday to launch an aggressive national Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement mobilization.
The goal of the effort, which continues through June 1, is to increase seat belt use and reduce highway fatalities — with a new emphasis this year on convincing more motorists to buckle up — day and night.
In 2006, there were 15,046 passenger vehicle occupants who died in traffic crashes between the nighttime hours of 6 p.m. and 5:59 a.m., according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) — and 64 percent of those passenger vehicle occupants killed were not wearing seat belts at the time of the fatal crashes.
The proportion of unbuckled deaths at night is considerably higher than the alarming 46 percent of passenger vehicle occupants who were killed and were not wearing their seat belts during daytime hours across the nation that same year, the NHTSA reported.
These statistics are why the Union City Police Department has announced plans to launch the Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement mobilization.
“Research shows us that there is a problem with drivers and passengers not buckling up at night — when the risk of a fatal crash is greatest,” Union City Police Chief Joe Garner said. “Clearly this is an indication that these individuals are not taking the law seriously. That’s why we’ll be out in force making sure that all passengers, in all vehicles, are buckled up — day and night.”
Garner said regular seat belt use is the single most effective way to protect people and reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes. He said in 2006, 72 percent of passenger vehicle occupants involved in a fatal crash who were buckled up survived the crashes. When worn correctly, seat belts have 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 mini-vans.
Yet nearly one in five Ameri-cans, or 18 percent nationally, still fail to regularly wear their seat belts when driving or riding in motor vehicles, according to NHTSA’s observational seat belt studies.
Stepped-up law enforcement activities will be conducted during the national Click It or Ticket enforcement mobilization. The mobilization is being supported by a projected $7.5 million in paid national advertising and additional state advertising to encourage all motorists, but especially those at night, always to buckle up.
“Seat belts clearly save lives,” Garner said. “But, unfortunately, too many folks still need a tough reminder, so we are going to be out in force buckling down on those who are not buckled up. Wearing your seat belt costs you nothing, but not wearing it certainly will. So unless you want to risk a ticket, or worse — your life — please remember to buckle up day and night. Click It or Ticket.”
Published in The Messenger 5.15.08