07-23-2012

‘Click It or Ticket’ cites more than 19,000 motorists not using seat belts

Kentucky Press News Service

FRANKFORT – This year’s Click It or Ticket enforcement effort, coordinated by the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety, resulted in citations to 19,594 motorists for not buckling up.

The annual campaign, supported by more than 220 state and local law enforcement agencies, was held May 21-June 3.

The campaign’s main objective was to encourage seat belt usage through enforcement of Kentucky’s seat belt law. In the process, officers at 642 traffic safety checkpoints throughout the state also made 1,103 drunken driving arrests, 1,392 felony arrests, and 1,119 drug arrests.

Also, they recovered 53 stolen vehicles and apprehended 1,757 fugitives. They also cited 10,658 drivers for speeding, 419 for reckless driving and 5,072 people for having no proof of automobile insurance.

“The goal of the Click It or Ticket campaign is not to write tickets, but to save lives,” Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock said in a news release. “We want to educate the public on the importance of wearing a seat belt and to reduce deaths and injuries along our roadways. It’s an extra benefit when traffic enforcement leads to criminal enforcement.”

KOHS Director Bill Bell said law enforcement agencies are an invaluable resource in reducing deaths and injuries on Kentucky roadways. “We believe our educational efforts are strengthened by working closely with law enforcement throughout the year to promote our highway safety messages,” Bell said.

The campaign placed extra emphasis on nighttime enforcement, since that is when passenger vehicle occupants are least likely to buckle up and most likely to die in crashes. Last year, 67 percent of people killed in motor vehicle crashes between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. were unrestrained.

There were 721 total highway fatalities in Kentucky in 2011 with 576 killed in motor vehicles. Fifty-eight percent of those killed in motor vehicles were not wearing a seat belt.

“We’re pleased with the results of this year’s Click It or Ticket campaign,” Bell said. “The partnership between all the agencies involved was tremendous. If one life was saved, it was well worth the effort.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, seat belts, when worn correctly, are proven to reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat occupants by 45 percent – and by 60 percent in pickup trucks, SUVs and minivans.