Community Affairs Officer Barbara Clifford of the St. Augustine Police Department reported to the local St. Augustine news desk that her department is joining with hundreds of other law enforcement agencies across Florida in renewing a pledge to save lives.
By intensifying local efforts to enforce seat belt laws among all motorists and around the clock, the city police hope to do their part to save lives during the Click It or Ticket mobilization which runs from March 1st through March 15th.
According to 2008 data from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, 2,983 individuals were killed in motor vehicle related crashes. Of these traffic deaths, 1,795 individuals were either drivers or passengers in safety belt equipped vehicles. Sixty percent (1,085) of these people killed were not wearing a safety belt.
In addition in 2008, sixty-eight percent (54 of 79) of the children ages 0 to 17 years old killed in traffic crashes were not using safety equipment.
“With 30 percent of traffic fatalities due to Floridians failing to buckle up regularly, it’s clear that far too many people still don’t take the safety belt law seriously,” Commander Barry Fox said. “The unbuckled rate is especially high — and the fatal crash rate increases significantly at night. So look for us to be out on the streets both day and night in March making sure that everyone is buckled up.”
Commander Fox said, “Worn correctly, seat belts have proven to reduce the risk of fatal injury in a crash by 45 percent for front-seat passenger vehicle occupants and by 60 percent in pickup trucks, SUVs, and minivans. In fact, data shows that more than three-quarters (77%) of passenger vehicle occupants who were in a serious crash in 2006 and were buckled up survived the crash.”
Increased law enforcement activities, including seat belt checkpoints, will be conducted nationwide during the 2010 Click It or Ticket mobilization. Paid national advertising, as well as State advertising, will support the mobilization by promoting the life-saving benefits of regular seat belt use, especially nighttime belt use, to all motorists.
“Regular seat belt use is the single most effective way to protect people and reduce motor vehicle crash fatalities. And high-visibility enforcement is effective at getting people to buckle up,” said Commander Fox “Wearing your seat belt is easy and it costs you nothing. Not wearing it might cost you a ticket, or worse — your life. I urge everyone in St Augustine to please be safe and buckle up day and night — Click It or Ticket.”