ROANOKE, Va. – Law enforcement agencies across the country are participating in the Click It or Ticket campaign.
“It’s a simple thing you can do to protect yourself and others if you’re involved in a crash,” said Sgt. Rick Garletts with Virginia State Police.
It’s an initiative to lower the number of people not wearing seatbelts. Virginia State Police reported 24 traffic deaths between January and March this year.
“This Division which covers 14 counties, that 6 Division headquarters covers, we’ve had 24 fatalities, and 50% of them have not been wearing their seatbelt,” added Garletts.
Since the initiative began more than 20 years ago, seatbelt usage has gone up.
“Our seatbelt usage rate in Virginia is about 85%. It’s dropped a couple percentage points over the last few years. But 85% which is very good because it is a secondary violation,” said Sgt. Spencer Hoopes with Roanoke County Police.
That means you can’t get pulled over for not wearing a seatbelt. But, if you’re pulled over for something else, police can tack on a fine.
“We know that that’s obviously dangerous behavior. We usually see that in combination with other dangerous behaviors, impaired driving, distracted driving, speeders, things of that nature,” said Hoopes.
Drive Smart Virginia is also doing its own “Click It or Ticket” campaign with Virginia DMV and provided a few eye-opening stats about crashes and seatbelts:
- Most fatal crashes occur at speeds below 40 mph and within 25 miles of your home.
- If you’re in a crash and are thrown from the vehicle you have a 75% chance of being killed. When worn correctly seatbelts reduce the risk of moderate to critical injury by 50%.
- Death rates are more than 8 times higher when the occupant is not buckled or restrained.
- In 60% of fatal crashes, the victim isn’t buckled. However, when worn, seatbelts can reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passengers by 45%
As the weather gets warmer and more people are hitting the roads, law enforcement hopes the campaign is a good reminder to simply Click It or Ticket.