From May 22 through June 4, state and local law enforcement agencies across the nation are stepping up enforcement to crack down on motorists who aren’t wearing their seat belts.
Locally, a kickoff event was held Thursday at the Orange Township Hall in Lewis Center, with law enforcement and partners in attendance.
Amy Bean, a Powell resident, shared the story of losing her husband 13 years ago in a crash. For the past 4 and 1/2 years she has served as a safe driving advocate in the community.
“The national seat belt use rate in 2015 was 88.5 percent, which is good but we can do better. The other 11.5 percent an estimated 37 million people still need to be reminded that seat belts save lives,” a news release states.
Click It or Ticket isn’t about the citations; it’s about saving lives. In 2015, there were 9,874 unbuckled passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in the United States. To help prevent crash fatalities, we need to step-up enforcement and crack down on those who don’t wear their seat belts.
Seat belt use is required by law for a reason: In 2015, seat belts saved an estimated 13,941 people from dying. From 2011 to 2015 seat belts saved nearly 64,000 lives.
This year’s Click It or Ticket campaign kick-off included a message from Theresa Tammy Gaser, who is a certified trauma specialist. Gaser owns Trinity Family Counseling and works with a lot of children and adults who have had medical trauma stemming from car crashes.
Last year 36 people died and 330 people were seriously injured in Delaware County.
If all passenger vehicle occupants 5 and older involved in fatal crashes had worn their seat belts, an additional 2,804 lives could have been saved in 2015 alone.
• In 2015, nearly half of the passenger vehicle occupants who died in crashes were unrestrained.
Among young adults ages 18 to 34 killed in crashes in 2015, more than half were completely unrestrained — one of the highest percentages for all age groups.
In 2015, there were 662 children 12 and younger killed in motor vehicle crashes. Of those deaths, more than a third were unrestrained.
• Men make up the majority of those killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes. In 2015, 65 percent of the 22,441 passenger vehicle occupants killed were men. They wear their seat belts at a lower rate than women do 52 percent of men in fatal crashes were unrestrained, compared to 42 percent for women.
• Vehicle type. 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.
But the numbers say otherwise. Sixty percent of pickup truck occupants who were killed in 2015 were not buckled up. That’s compared to 42 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.
• Seating position. Too many people wrongly believe they are safe in the back seat unrestrained. Forty-seven percent of all front-seat passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in 2015 were unrestrained, but 57 percent of those killed in back seats were unrestrained.
• Rural versus urban locations. People who live in rural areas might believe that their crash exposure is lower, but in 2015, there were 12,797 passenger vehicle fatalities in rural locations, compared to 8,262 fatalities in urban locations.
Out of those fatalities, 50 percent of those killed in the rural locations were not wearing their seat belts, compared to 46 percent in urban locations.
• High-visibility seat belt enforcement is important 24 hours a day, but nighttime is especially deadly for unbuckled occupants. In 2015,57 percent of passenger vehicle occupants killed at night (6p.m.-5:59 a.m.) were not wearing their seat belts.
• Safe driving behavior includes wearing a seat belt, decreasing speeds and avoiding alcohol use.
Learn more about the Click It or Ticket mobilization at www.nhtsa pov/ciot