Buckle Up Seat Belt Campaign Started

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If you have a habit of driving without a seat belt, watch out, because law enforcement is looking out for you and isn’t afraid to slap with you with a ticket.

Between May 24 and June 6, officers around the state are participating in the “Buckle Up Arizona ... No Excuses!” seat belt enforcement campaign.

“Local motorists should be prepared for increased Click It or Ticket activities that will take place around the clock. If law enforcement finds you on the road unbuckled anytime or anywhere, you can expect to get a ticket — not a warning. No excuses and no exceptions,” said Arizona Department of Public Safety Lt. Col. Jack Hegarty.

The Click It or Ticket campaign is an annual event held in Arizona. Around the country, states hold their own versions of the programs, which are credited with increasing seat belt usage rates from 58 percent in 1994 to 84 percent in 2009.

“Even though Arizona is a secondary law state for seat belt usage, law enforcement officers will be taking a zero tolerance approach on drivers who are in violation of state law,” said Alberto Gutier, director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.

When used properly, seat belts can reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passengers by 45 percent and reduce the risk of moderate-to-critical injury by 50 percent.

On Arizona’s highways in 2008, there were 288 fatal crashes resulting in 345 deaths. In 124 of these crashes, seat belts were not worn, and more than half of these crashes occurred at night.

“Nighttime drivers and passengers continue to be among those least likely to wear seat belts. Consequently, they are also among those most likely to die in motor crashes,” said DPS Sgt. Kevin Wood.

“The events and enforcement over the next two weeks will help prevent needless tragedies on our streets and highways,” Gutier said.

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