JEFFERSON CITY -More than 200 Missouri law enforcement agencies are expected to participate in this year's Click It or Ticket campaign from May 23-June 5. During last year's campaign, law enforcement officers wrote more than 5,500 seat belt tickets.
"The best thing motorists can do to protect themselves while traveling in a motor vehicle is to buckle their seat belts and to make sure everyone else in the vehicle is buckled as well," said Colonel Ronald K. Replogle, superintendent of the Highway Patrol. "This type of campaign and enforcement effort is just one method used to heighten awareness about the importance of wearing a seat belt and saving lives. Highway Patrol troopers will continue to take a zero tolerance approach in the enforcement of seat belt and child restraint laws throughout the year in our effort to reduce injuries and save lives."
Seat belt use in Missouri has remained relatively unchanged in the last several years and consistently below the national average. Missouri continues to remain around 76 percent seat belt usage, well below the national average of 85 percent. Missouri's teens and pick-up truck drivers are among those least likely to buckle up at 66 and 64 percent. Seven out of 10 Missourians killed in traffic crashes in 2010 were not wearing a seat belt.
"It's time we try some new things in our state to increase seat belt usage," said Leanna Depue, chair of the executive committee of the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety. "Saving lives is what it's all about, and seat belts are such an easy way to prevent tragedy, suffering, and grief associated with disabling or fatal traffic crashes"
New strategies to increase Missouri seat belt use include using portable message boards to post messages about fatalities and seat belt citations; partnering with high schools and large employers to get them to adopt seat belt policies; and providing incentives to positively reinforce wearing a seat belt.
Click It or Ticket is a national campaign designed to increase seat belt use and reduce highway fatalities. The campaign couples high-visibility enforcement with education.
One-hundred and eighty two law enforcement agencies participated in Click It or Ticket in 2010. Their efforts netted 5,794 seat belt and 219 child seat violations. During the campaign, law enforcement also issued 7,556 speeding violations and made 207 DWI, 96 felony and 183 drug arrests. In total, law enforcement made 27,072 stops during the campaign and issued 22,395 citations.
For more information about Click It or Ticket, visit http://www.savemolives.com/.