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The 2012 national “Click It or Ticket” seat belt enforcement mobilization kicks off Monday to help save lives by cracking down on those who don’t buckle up.
The Galax Police Department is joining with other state and local law enforcement officers and highway safety advocates across the country to strongly enforce all traffic laws, especially seat belt laws, around the clock.
While Virginia’s seat belt use rate increased slightly to 81.8 percent — up from 80.5 percent in 2010 — there is still much work to be done.
According to the DMV Highway Safety Office’s preliminary 2011 TREDS (Traffic Records Electronic Data System) statistics, there were a total of 765 fatalities, and 306 of them were unrestrained at the time of the crash.
Of the total unrestrained fatalities, 93 (30.39 percent) were between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m. Of those, 65 (69.89 percent) were between midnight and 3 a.m.
“Seat belt use is just too important to ignore,” said Galax Police Chief Rick Clark “We want to stress that regularly buckling up works, and we know of too many cases, largely at night, that all too often end in tragedy.
“Our goal is to save more lives, so the Galax Police Department will be out enforcing all traffic laws including seat belt use around the clock.”
Regular seat belt use saves thousands of lives across Virginia each year.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics show that in 2010 alone, seat belts saved an estimated 272 lives in Virginia. An additional 112 lives could be saved with 100 percent seat belt use.
While this year’s “Click It or Ticket” enforcement mobilization runs from May 21-June 3, motorists should know that officers enforce seat belt laws year-round.
“Those who choose not to obey traffic laws and not to wear a seat belt will feel the heat from our officers, who will be out cracking down on violators. Everyone in the vehicle should buckle up every time they go out, both day and night,” Clark said.
“Our officers are prepared to ticket anyone who is violating the law and not buckled up... no warnings and no excuses.”