Drivers who don't put on their seat belts after getting behind the wheel will have a greater chance of seeing flashing red and blue strobe lights in their rear view mirrors this December. These traffic stops occur year-round, but Monroe is joining state and local police officers in beefing up enforcement of seat belt laws during the holiday season. The Click It or Ticket campaign starts on Dec. 3.
"Those who choose not to wear a seat belt will feel the heat from our officers who will be out cracking down on Click It or Ticket violators," said Monroe Police Lt. Brian McCauley. "Motorists should buckle up every time they go out, both day and night. Our officers are prepared to ticket anyone not buckled up ... no warnings and no excuses. Click It or Ticket."
While wearing a seat belt may be uncomfortable for some drivers, McCauley said making it a habit can save lives.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2010 nationally, 61 percent of the 10,647 passenger vehicle occupants who were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes overnight (6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m.) were not wearing their seat belts at the time of the fatal crash, compared to 42 percent during the daytime hours.
NHTSA statistics also show that in 2010 alone, seat belts saved an estimated 12,546 lives nationwide.
Yet, McCauley said too many motorists may need a tough reminder. In 2010, 22,187 passenger vehicle occupants were killed in motor vehicle crashes, according to NHTSA, and 51 percent of them were not wearing seat belts at the time of their fatal crashes.
Younger motorists and men are particularly at risk. NHTSA data shows that among teen and young adult passenger vehicle occupants in 2010, ages 18-34, who were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes, 62 percent were not buckled up at the time of the crash — the highest percentage of any age group. The number jumps to 66 percent when just men in this age group are included.
"Too many drivers and passengers on the road at night are not wearing their seat belts, and it all too often ends in tragedy," McCauley said. "Our goal is to save more lives, so the Monroe Police Department will be out enforcing seat belt laws around the clock."
While this year's Click It or Ticket enforcement mobilization runs from Dec. 3 to 16, McCauley said drivers should know that officers are out enforcing seat belt laws year-round.
For more on the national Click It or Ticket mobilization, visit www.nhtsa.gov.