National ‘Click It or Ticket’ campaign kicks off

Police officers across the state are cracking down on drivers who do not buckle up as part of the national “Click It or Ticket” campaign.

Federal, state and county officials joined community organizations and agencies Monday to launch the campaign in Hawaii. Its goal is to remind motorists and passengers about the severe risks of being unbelted, day or night.

“Click It or Ticket is about saving lives,” Gov. Neil Abercrombie said. “Even though our state has achieved a seat belt usage rate of 90 percent or higher over the past 10 years, there are still parts of the state where seat belt use is much lower than the state average, and those are the individuals we are still trying to reach.”

Hawaii’s universal seat belt law requires that all front and back seat motor vehicle occupants buckle up. Adults and children must use their seat belts and child restraints at all times. The fine for unrestrained occupants on Oahu, Hawaii and Maui is $102, and the fine on Kauai is $112. Even if a passenger is caught without a seat belt, the ticket is issued to the driver.

According to the Hawaii Dept. of Transportation, 14,542 drivers in Hawaii received citations during federal fiscal year 2013 for failure to use a seat belt. In addition, 2,206 drivers were issued citations for failure to restrain a child under 17 years of age in their vehicles. Of all the motor vehicle fatalities in 2011, only 37.5 percent were properly restrained. As of June 2012, Hawaii had a seat belt usage rate of 93 percent, a decline of 4 percent from the previous year.

“People get into car wrecks for a lot of reasons, but they die as a result because they aren’t wearing their seat belts,” said National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Regional Administrator John Moffat. “Wearing your belt is the single most important step you can take, and it will save you from getting a ticket.”

Stepped-up law enforcement activities will be conducted in all four counties during the Click It or Ticket mobilization period, which runs through June 1.

Seat Belt Facts

  • In 2012, seat belts saved an estimated 12,174 people from dying nationally. From 2008 to 2012, seat belts saved nearly 63,000 lives.
  • In 2012, 3,031 additional lives could have been saved nationally if all unrestrained passenger vehicle occupants 5 years of age and older involved in fatal crashes had worn their seat belts.
  • For the first time in five years, fatalities for unrestrained passenger vehicle occupants have gone up. In 2012, there were 10,335 unbuckled passenger vehicle occupants who died. Because of these fatalities, police are stepping up enforcement and cracking down on those who don’t wear their seat belts.
  • Young adults are dying at a disproportionate rate because they are not wearing their seat belts. Sixty-two percent of 18 to 34 year old passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes nationwide were not wearing their seat belts.

During the national Click It or Ticket mobilization, and throughout the year, police statewide will continue strict enforcement of the state seat belt and child passenger restraint laws. The media and enforcement campaign is 100-percent federally funded by the NHTSA.

Click here for more information on the campaign from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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