‘Click It or Ticket’ campaign underway


By Glenn Battishill - [email protected]



Bellios Penter said she has to use two canes and leg braces to walk after her car crash but said the injuries have not stopped her from fulfill career goals or climbing mountains in Greece and Hawaii.

Bellios Penter said she has to use two canes and leg braces to walk after her car crash but said the injuries have not stopped her from fulfill career goals or climbing mountains in Greece and Hawaii.


Tammy Bellios Penter speaks during the SAFE Delaware County Coalition’s kick off of the national “Click It or Ticket” campaign. Bellios Penter said she was in a car crash 30 years ago and was left with severe injuries that she believes may have been avoided if she had worn her seat belt.


Megan Edwards | Delaware Public Health District

The SAFE Delaware County Coalition joined with law enforcement last week for the kick off of a “Click It or Ticket” campaign designed to increase seat belt usage.

The campaign is run by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Safety Administration and runs from May 23 to June 5 to coincide with the Memorial Day holiday. During the campaign, law enforcement will participate in high-visibility enforcement efforts to increase seat belt usage.

Jackie Bain, SAFE Delaware Coalition coordinator, said she wants the act of buckling up to be “automatic to all drivers and passengers.”

“It’s not just a safe thing to do, it’s the law,” Bain said. “During the ‘Click It or Ticket’ campaign, we’ll be working with our fellow law enforcement officers across local and state lines to ensure the message gets out to drivers and passengers. Buckling up is the simplest thing you can do to limit injury or save your life during a crash. We see the results of not wearing a seat belt all the time. We see the loss of life. So often, it could have been prevented.”

Bain said Delaware County had four unbuckled occupants killed in crashes in 2020, and 2022 has already had five unbuckled occupants who have died in vehicle crashes, including a 21-year-old who passed away hours before the event.

“You may think you’re safe in a certain vehicle, or on a certain road, but the truth is, you’re safest when you buckle up, no matter what,” Bain said. “Unfortunately, many families are suffering because their loved ones refused to follow this simple step.”

The kickoff event did not include the usual “saved by the belt” speaker and instead included comments from Tammy Bellios Penter, a Delaware County resident who is partially paralyzed from the waist down as the result of a car crash 30 years ago.

Bellios Penter said that she was driving home from an aerobics class that took place a few minutes from her home on March 16, 1992, and decided she did not need to wear her seat belt for that trip. She said she fainted behind the wheel, crashed into the guardrail, and was ejected from her car.

“My injuries were far worse than what my mangled car looked like that evening,” Bellios Penter said. “What if I wore my seat belt? More than likely, I would have walked away with possible cuts, bruises or some broken bones. Maybe, I would have walked away just fine but that didn’t happen. I haven’t truly walked in 30 years.”

Bellios Penter said she now requires two canes and leg braces to walk and said she is no longer able to run or dance, her previous favorite hobbies.

“To be honest, I’m jealous to see people run and dance even to this day,” Bellios Penter said. “That will never go away. All I needed to do was take three seconds to click my seat belt on. Three seconds, folks.”

Bellios Penter said the crash also left her with a traumatic brain injury that “embarrasses and frustrates” her every day of her life.

“During these past 30 years, God’s grace has blessed me beyond measure, especially with a solid and supportive family and a fabulous group of friends,” Bellios Penter said. “I am also accomplished and successful in many ways.”

Bellios Penter said she has been able to finish school and become a physical therapist assistant, climb mountains in Greece and Hawaii, and own a chocolate candy business in Galena.

“But what if I wore my seat belt?” Bellios Penter said. “I would have been able to treat all types of patients, instead of patients that could only fit my special needs. … I probably wouldn’t have cried so hard climbing those mountains and feeling the extreme pain even after a week, doing something so memorable and monumental. I would have held my father’s arm walking down the aisle on my wedding day. … I also would have danced all night long wearing the most gorgeous high heels without having to sit down a hundred times to rest!”

Bellios Penter said she is proud of her accomplishments but hates that her decision to not wear her seat belt fundamental altered her life.

“Would you rather take the three seconds to put your seat belt on while sitting in your car or risk spending the rest of your life sitting in a wheelchair with a seat belt on?” Bellios Penter said. “In a second, I made a devastating choice … please hear my words clearly and do better than 19-year-old me.”

Lt. Robert Curry, commander of the Delaware Post, encouraged everyone to wear their seat belts and to hold friends and family accountable.

“If the enforcement effort wakes people up to the dangers of unrestrained driving, we’ll consider our mission to be a success,” Curry said. “If you know a friend or a family member who does not buckle up when they drive, please ask them to consider changing their habits. Help us spread this lifesaving message before one more friend or family member is killed as a result of this senseless inaction. Seat belts save lives, and everyone — front seat and back, child and adult — needs to remember to buckle up.”

Bellios Penter said she has to use two canes and leg braces to walk after her car crash but said the injuries have not stopped her from fulfill career goals or climbing mountains in Greece and Hawaii.
https://www.delgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/40/2022/05/web1_family13-Copy-1.jpgBellios Penter said she has to use two canes and leg braces to walk after her car crash but said the injuries have not stopped her from fulfill career goals or climbing mountains in Greece and Hawaii.

Tammy Bellios Penter speaks during the SAFE Delaware County Coalition’s kick off of the national “Click It or Ticket” campaign. Bellios Penter said she was in a car crash 30 years ago and was left with severe injuries that she believes may have been avoided if she had worn her seat belt.
https://www.delgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/40/2022/05/web1_IMG_7625-1.jpgTammy Bellios Penter speaks during the SAFE Delaware County Coalition’s kick off of the national “Click It or Ticket” campaign. Bellios Penter said she was in a car crash 30 years ago and was left with severe injuries that she believes may have been avoided if she had worn her seat belt. Megan Edwards | Delaware Public Health District

By Glenn Battishill

[email protected]

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.