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Annual 50 state seat belt initiative Click It or Ticket starts May 18

Staff writer |
In 1984, New York was the first state in the nation to pass legislation requiring drivers and front-seat passengers to use seat belts.

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Now the state participates in the national Click It or Ticket - Border-to-Border enforcement which will be launched on Monday, May 18 through Sunday, May 31.

At the Governor's direction, the State Department of Transportation and the Thruway Authority have coordinated variable message boards to be activated with "click it or ticket" messaging on roadways throughout the campaign.

In 1984, New York was the first state in the nation to pass legislation requiring drivers and front-seat passengers to use seat belts. Since that time, thousands of lives have been saved by seat belts and child restraints in New York including 467 in 2012 and 446 in 2013.

As part of this national enforcement effort, the New York State Police, county and municipal law enforcement agencies in marked and unmarked vehicles will aggressively ticket unbelted drivers traveling the state’s roadways through border-to-border checkpoints and roving details to look for seat belt violations.

This annual campaign is one of the many traffic safety initiatives sponsored by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee throughout the year.

Currently, 91 percent of New York motorists buckle up, which is four percent higher than the national average. New York motorists have maintained a 90 percent or higher seat belt usage rate since 2010.

Despite this achievement, approximately 32 percent of the front seat occupants killed in crashes in New York State between 2011-2013 were unrestrained.

Developed by NHTSA, the national Click It or Ticket campaign focuses on saving lives by encouraging all vehicle occupants to wear a seat belt. According to NHTSA, there were 9,580 unbuckled passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in the U.S. in 2013.

In support of the national mobilization, New York State Police, county and municipal law enforcement agencies will conduct a border-to-border detail from 6 p.m.-10 p.m. on May 18.

Police organizations from neighboring states – Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Vermont – also will participate in the mobilization effort. The goal of the Click It or Ticket campaign is to reduce fatalities in New York State, as well as nationally, through heightened enforcement of seat belt usage and increased public awareness.

According to the New York State Department of Health, nearly 700 unbelted motorists a month are injured severely enough to require hospital treatment.

In 2011, 8,309 motorists in New York State who did not wear a seat belt required hospitalization for injuries sustained in a crash. Treatment of these injuries resulted in almost $127 million in emergency room and hospitalization charges, and public funds were required to pay 12 percent (nearly $16 million) of these costs.

Data from the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles indicates that statewide law enforcement issued approximately 198,000 tickets to drivers in 2014 for a violation of 1229-c of the Vehicle and Traffic Law, which directs that all front seat occupants, and passengers under the age of sixteen, be restrained by a safety belt.

The Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research (ITSMR), a non-profit organization dedicated to improving highway safety in New York, says that restraint use among front seat occupants is lower at night than during the day, and that unrestrained front seat occupants killed or injured in crashes were much more likely to be male than female (63% vs. 37%).

The largest proportions of unrestrained front seat occupants killed or injured in crashes were 30-39 (19%) and 40-49 (15%) years of age.


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