As the Memorial Day holiday approaches, the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office (OHSO) and Oklahoma law enforcement want to remind all drivers of the importance of seat belt use. The annual 'Click It or Ticket' campaign is a high-visibility enforcement effort that runs from May 20 to June 2, 2019. Aimed at enforcing seat belt use to help keep families safe, the national seat belt campaign runs concurrent with the busy travel season.
“During the Click It or Ticket campaign, we’ll be working with law enforcement officers across local and state lines to ensure the message gets out to drivers and passengers,” said Director Paul Harris of the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office.
“We cannot overstate the importance of wearing a seat belt," said Oklahoma Highway Patrol Commissioner Rusty Rhoades.
"It’s the law, but it’s more than that. By far, buckling up is the simplest thing you can do to limit injury or save your life during a crash. Unfortunately, we see what happens when someone is in a crash and isn’t wearing a seat belt. So often, those injuries and deaths could have been prevented with the simple click of a seat belt,” said Rhoades.
In 2017, 231 people were killed in crashes on Oklahoma roadways who were NOT buckled up. A total of 1,479 people were injured in crashes in Oklahoma who were not wearing their seat belt. Across the nation, 10,076 unbuckled passenger vehicle occupants were killed in crashes in 2017.
In that same year, 55 percent of passenger vehicle occupants killed at night (6 p.m.–5:59 a.m.) were not wearing their seat belts in the US. That’s why one focus of the Click It or Ticket campaign is nighttime enforcement. Participating law enforcement agencies will be taking a no-excuses approach to seat belt law enforcement, writing citations day and night.
“Men, especially younger men ages 18-34, are much less likely to buckle up. In 2017, we lost 149 men in Oklahoma because they did not buckle their seat belts,” said Harris.
“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," said Harris.
Each year, the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office conducts a seat belt observation survey across the state. In 2018, the observed seat belt use rate for Oklahoma was at 85.6 percent. That's down from 86.9 percent in 2017.
"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—every trip, every time,” said Harris.
KXMX News Staff
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