Click It or Ticket campaign will see increased seatbelt enforcement through holiday

May 25th, 2021     Government & Politics

With the Memorial Day weekend coming up, the New Albany Police Department will again participate in the Click It or Ticket high-visibility seatbelt enforcement blitz.

The enforcement period began Monday and runs through Sunday, June 6.

The police department receives a grant that helps pay for extra enforcements, checkpoints and other overtime during the campaign.

In 2019, 9,466 unbuckled passenger vehicle occupants were killed in crashes in the United States. While that was a decrease from 2018, an early study for 2020 suggests that during the COVID-19 public health emergency, driving patterns and behaviors changed significantly. Of those drivers who remained on the roads, there was more risky behavior, including people not wearing seat belts.

The national seat belt use rate in 2019 was 90.7 percent, which is good — but we can do better. The other 9.3 percent still need to be reminded that seat belts save lives.

Among young adults 18 to 34 killed while riding in passenger vehicles in 2019, more than half (57 percent) were completely unrestrained — one of the highest percentages for all age groups.

Men make up the majority of those killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes. In 2019, 65 percent of the 22,215 passenger vehicle occupants who were killed were men. Men also wear their seat belts at a lower rate than women do — 51 percent of men killed in crashes were unrestrained, compared to 40 percent of women killed in crashes.

There seems to be a misconception among those who drive and ride in pickup trucks that their large vehicles will protect them better than other vehicles would in a crash. The numbers say otherwise: 58 percent of pickup truck occupants who were killed in 2019 were not buckled. That’s compared to 43 percent of passenger car occupants who were not wearing seat belts when they were killed. Regardless of vehicle type, seat belt use is the single most effective way to stay alive in a crash.

Too many people wrongly believe they are safe in the back seat unrestrained. Forty-five percent of all front-seat passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in 2019 were unrestrained, but 58 percent of those killed in back seats were unrestrained.

People who live in rural areas might believe that their crash exposure is lower, but in 2019, there were 11,971 passenger vehicle fatalities in rural locations, compared to 10,187 fatalities in urban locations. Out of those fatalities, 48 percent of those killed in the rural locations were not wearing their seat belts, compared to 45 percent in urban locations.

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