“Click It or Ticket” campaign reminds drivers to buckle up

Community

LAFAYETTE, La (KLFY) — Acadiana Regional Transportation Safety Coalition is reminding drivers about the lifesaving benefits of wearing a seat belt this spring, during the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) national Click It or Ticket high-visibility enforcement effort.

The national seat belt campaign, which coincides with the Memorial Day holiday, runs from May 24 to June 6, 2021.

“We want the act of buckling up to become automatic to all drivers and passengers,” said Ron Czajkowski, Regional Safety Coordinator.

“It’s not just a safe thing to do – it’s the law. During the Click It or Ticket campaign, we’ll be working with our law enforcement partners across local and state lines to ensure the message gets out to drivers and passengers,” said Czajkowski. “Buckling up is the simplest thing you can do to limit injury or save your life during a crash. We see the results of not wearing a seat belt all the time. We see the loss of life. So often, it could have been prevented.”

According to NHTSA, in 2019, there were 9,466 unbuckled passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in the United States. In that same year, 55% of passenger vehicle occupants killed at night (6 p.m.–5:59 a.m.) were not wearing their seat belts.

That’s why one focus of the Click It or Ticket campaign is nighttime enforcement. Participating law enforcement agencies will be taking a no-excuses approach to seat belt law enforcement, writing citations day and night. In Louisiana, the maximum penalty for a seat belt violation is $500.

“You may think you’re safe in a certain vehicle, or on a certain road, but the truth is, you’re safest when you buckle up, no matter what,” said Czajkowski. “Unfortunately, many families are suffering because their loved ones refused to follow this simple step. In fact, in 2019, we lost 34 community members in Acadiana because they did not buckle their seat belts.”

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 2019, more than half (51%) were unrestrained. For females killed in crashes, 40% were not buckled up.

“If the enforcement effort wakes people up to the dangers of unrestrained driving, we’ll consider our mission to be a success,” said Ron Czajkowski. “If you know a friend or a family member who does not buckle up when they drive, please ask them to consider changing their habits. Help us spread this lifesaving message before one more friend or family member is killed as a result of this senseless inaction. Seat belts save lives, and everyone — front seat and back, child and adult — needs to remember to buckle up.”

For more information on the Click It or Ticket mobilization, please visit www.nhtsa.gov/ciot.    

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