Police run ‘Click It or Ticket’ campaign

Published 7:16 pm Saturday, November 21, 2015

No one would willingly ride a rollercoaster without a safety belt or harness. Yet, only 77 percent of Virginians last year rode in a car, SUV and pickup truck buckled up.

The odds of being injured on a rollercoaster are one in 24 million and the chance of being killed is one in 750 million. No one died on a rollercoaster in Virginia in 2014 or 2015.

But, in the first 10 months of this year, 254 adults, teens and children who were not wearing seat belts have died in traffic crashes. Another 3,174 persons have been injured in traffic crashes after failing to buckle up.

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To reinforce the necessity and importance of buckling up on every ride, Virginia State Police is partnering with local, state and federal law enforcement and traffic-safety advocates for the November National Click It or Ticket Mobilization. This initiative, began Friday and continues through Nov. 26 and will incorporate education and strict enforcement of all occupant restraint laws in Virginia.

“The single, most effective traffic safety device for preventing death during a crash is a seat belt,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police superintendent. “The best defense against impaired, aggressive and distracted drivers is wearing a seat belt. More than 250 lives have already been lost on Virginia’s highways this year in traffic crashes involving people who couldn’t take two minutes out of their busy day to simply buckle up or buckle up a child. That’s the true tragedy — two minutes of your time can mean the difference between surviving or dying in a crash.”

According to Smart, Safe and Sober, Virginia’s statewide safety belt compliance rate is currently 77.3 percent. The goal for 2015 is to increase the rate to at least 82.1 percent in order to save lives on Virginia’s highways.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that almost twice as many males were killed in crashes nationwide in 2013 compared to females, in regards to the use of seat belts. Of the males killed in crashes that year, more than half (54 percent) were unrestrained. For females killed in crashes, 41 percent were not buckled up.