Getting in your car and putting on your seat belt should be second nature, whether you are a driver or a passenger. Take a second of your time and always buckle up before heading out on the highway.
As a reminder of this life-saving advice, the California Highway Patrol is participating in the Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement campaign Nov. 18 to 27, 2011. During this time, law enforcement officers throughout the state actively look for drivers and passengers who are unbuckled.
Click It or Ticket has a successful track record since its inception in 2005; California’s seat belt usage rate has increased from a 90.4 percent in 2001 to a record-high, 96.02 percent in 2010. This increase represents more than 1.25 million more vehicle occupants who buckle up.
“It’s encouraging to see seat belt usage is up and fatalities are at a record-low in California,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. “Through this heightened statewide enforcement effort our goal is to further increase seat belt and child passenger safety seat use, and continue to save lives.”
According to the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System, in 2009 there were 544 vehicle passengers killed who were not wearing a seat belt or using a child safety seat; more than 9,400 others were injured under similar circumstances. Last year, CHP officers issued more than 155,000 citations to drivers and or passengers who failed to buckle up.
The minimum cost of an adult seat belt violation in California is $142, and up to $445 for not properly restraining a child under 16 years of age. If the parent is not in the car, the driver is issued the ticket.
“We would prefer not to write the ticket,” added Commissioner Farrow. “I’d like to see everyone make safe choices and eliminate preventable tragedies on our roadways.”
Click It or Ticket is a cooperative effort among the five traffic safety-related departments under the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency: CHP, Office of Traffic Safety, Department of Transportation, Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and the Department of Motor Vehicles.