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Virginia Highway Safety Office News Releases

Thursday, May 25, 2017
Media Contact: Brandy Brubaker
Department of Motor Vehicles
(804) 367-6834

Spring Click It or Ticket Enforcement Underway in Virginia
Seat Belt Users are 45 Percent Less Likely to be Killed in a Crash

RICHMOND - During this month's Click It or Ticket campaign, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) challenges motorists to set a good example by always buckling up.

"Wearing a seat belt is your first line of defense in the event of a crash," said John Saunders, director of DMV's Virginia Highway Safety Office. "You may be the safest driver in Virginia, but you have no control over the drivers who share the road with you. Protect yourself and your family by always buckling up and making sure that all of your passengers are wearing a seat belt, or, if appropriate, strapped into a child safety seat."

The annual national Click It or Ticket campaign combines high visibility enforcement of seat belt and child safety seat laws with outreach and education. To save lives, law enforcement officers across Virginia ramp up seat belt enforcement during the month of May.

For example, law enforcement agencies located along Routes 58/60/460 partner during Memorial Day weekend to educate the public and prevent needless tragedies by increasing seat belt and child safety seat saturation patrols. The Route 60 Blitz kicked off Thursday, May 25, 2017 with an awareness event in New Kent County. The annual blitzes are part of the larger statewide and national Click It or Ticket campaign, which runs through June 4, 2017.

In recent years, more than half of the people who died in Virginia crashes in vehicles equipped with safety restraints weren't using them. In 2016, 304 unrestrained drivers or passengers were killed in Virginia crashes. There were 310 unrestrained fatalities in 2015; in 2014, there were 256.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seat belt users are 45 percent less likely to be fatally injured in a crash. In addition, statistics show that 80 percent of people ejected in a crash die; 30 percent of unbelted motorists are ejected during a crash.

"This is simple math," Saunders said. "If statistics say that 30 out of every 100 unbelted motorists are ejected during a crash, and 80 percent of ejected motorists die, that's 24 people who may have survived those crashes simply by wearing a seat belt. If you multiply that by the number of Virginians involved in a crash every day, it adds up to far too many unnecessary deaths on our roadways."

NHTSA studies show that drivers and front-seat passengers are five times more likely to die in a crash if the rear passengers are not wearing seat belts, and this is particularly the case in head-on collisions.

According to NHTSA, child safety seats reduce the risk of fatal injury for infants by 71 percent in passenger cars. For toddlers, the risk is reduced by 54 percent.

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