Motorists who refuse, or sometimes forget, to wear their safety belt will need to be extra vigilant this month. That’s because the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS) will be launching its annual May mobilization of Click It or Ticket.
The national campaign will begin May 21 in Georgia. All motorists, even if they’re just passing through on vacation, can expect a ticket if they don’t click it because hundreds of law enforcement agencies across the state will be partnering with GOHS by cracking down on those who don’t buckle up.
In 2010, 423 people older than the age of 5 were killed in crashes in which they were unrestrained. And while that number is down from 644 in 2006, it still indicates far too many people are not wearing their seatbelts when riding in passenger vehicles.
And unbelted fatalities are still happening in disproportionate numbers at nighttime, in pickup trucks and in rural counties. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 61 percent of the 10,647 people killed in motor vehicle crashes between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. across the country in 2010 were not wearing their seatbelt. That is compared to 42 percent during daytime hours. In Georgia’s rural counties, 60 percent of traffic fatalities are unrestrained. Additionally, pickup truck occupants in Georgia have the lowest seatbelt usage rate behind cars, SUVs and vans.
"The bottom line is that those who choose not to wear a safety belt will feel the heat from our officers who will be cracking down on Click It or Ticket violators," said GOHS Director Harris Blackwood. "Our police officers, state troopers and sheriff’s deputies are prepared to ticket anyone who isn’t buckled up."
There’s no argument that seatbelts help save lives because the statistics prove it. NHTSA data shows that in 2010 alone, seatbelts saved an estimated 12,546 lives nationwide. Unfortunately, some people are still not getting the message. That’s because NHTSA data also shows that 22,187 passenger vehicle occupants were killed in traffic crashes in 2010 and 51 percent were not wearing seatbelts at the time of their fatal crash.
"Too many people are still dying on Georgia roads because they can’t take 10 seconds to buckle their seatbelt," said Blackwood. "It’s also the easiest way to protect yourself from other careless drivers who speed or drive drunk."
The Click It or Ticket campaign in Georgia will run from May 21 to June 3. Contact your local law enforcement agencies to see what activities they will be participating in. For more information on Click It or Ticket, visit www.gahighwaysafety.org or www.nhtsa.gov.