The St Johns County Sheriff’s Office announced to Historic City News today that they are joining with hundreds of other law enforcement agencies across the country during the 2009 Click It or Ticket mobilization.
Kevin Kelshaw reported that the Sheriff’s Office is renewing a pledge to save lives by intensifying efforts to enforce seat belt laws — among all motorists and around the clock — during this year’s national campaign which runs from May 18th through May 31st.
In 2007, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 14,464 passenger vehicle occupants were killed between the nighttime hours of 6 p.m. and 5:59 a.m. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of those killed (8,319) at night were NOT wearing seat belts — compared to less than half (45%) of the passenger vehicle occupants killed during daytime hours that were not wearing seat belts.
Out of 21 fatalities across St. Johns County last year, 14 occupants who were not wearing seat belts lost their lives in traffic crashes. Over the next couple of weeks, deputies will be ticketing unbelted vehicle occupants around the clock—night and day.
“Consistent research has shown that fewer people are buckling up at night, when the risk of being in a fatal crash is greatest.” said Colonel Art May, Support Services Director at the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office. “That’s why we will be out in force at night as well as during the day to make sure that drivers and passengers take seat belts, and seat belt laws seriously.”
Col. May added that regular seat belt use is the single most effective way to protect people and reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes. He noted that, when worn correctly, seat belts have been proven to reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants by 45 percent, and by 60 percent in pickup trucks, SUVs and minivans.
NHTSA observational studies show that nearly one out of five Americans still fails to wear a seat belt when driving or riding in a motor vehicle.
Stepped-up law enforcement activities will occur during the 2009 Click It or Ticket mobilization period from May 18th through May 31st. Plans include an educational campaign as well as activating additional checkpoints. This effort is being supported by $8 million in national advertising along with additional state advertising that is hoped to encourage every driver and passenger to buckle up, especially at night.
“Seat belts clearly save lives. But, unfortunately, too many folks still need a tough reminder, so we are going to be out in force both day and night in 2009 buckling down on those who are not buckled up,” said St. Johns County Sheriff David Shoar.
“Wearing your seat belt costs you nothing, but not wearing it will. So unless you want to risk a ticket, or worse, your life, please remember to buckle up night and day. Don’t forget, Click It or Ticket isn’t just a campaign slogan, it’s a promise!” Sheriff Shoar said.