Virginia Highway Safety Office News ReleasesFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, November 19, 2018
Media Contact: Sunni Brown
Department of Motor Vehicles
Survey Finds Nearly 16 Percent of Virginians Don’t Wear Lifesaving Seat Belts
DMV, Police and Safety Partners Strive for 100 Percent as Click It or Ticket Begins
RICHMOND – The nearly 16 percent of Virginians who still do not wear their seat belts should be warned – state and local police officers will be out in full force across Virginia looking for unbelted motorists during this month’s “Click It or Ticket” campaign.
The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) announced today the results of this year’s seat belt survey, which revealed a use rate of 84.1 percent among Virginia motorists, down from last year’s record high of 85.3 percent. The survey results come as “Click It or Ticket” kicks off across Virginia. The campaign, which runs through November 30, combines high visibility enforcement of seat belt and child safety seat laws with outreach and education.
Last year, 308 unbelted motorists died in crashes on Virginia roadways. DMV, Virginia law enforcement and nonprofit partners steadfastly continue their efforts toward 100 percent seat belt usage. 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 79 percent of people ejected in a crash die; 30 percent of unbelted motorists are ejected during a crash.
“As long as Virginians continue to lose their lives on our roadways because they are not wearing their seat belts, we still have work to do,” said Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “Look at the statistics – wearing a seat belt is simple, effective, and can save your life.”
In recent years, more than half of the people who died in Virginia crashes in vehicles equipped with safety restraints were not 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.
It is equally important to ensure children are properly secured in an age-appropriate child safety seat. 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.
“We need your help to reach our goal of 100 percent seat belt usage in Virginia. Always buckle up and make sure everyone in your vehicle is properly secured,” said DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb, the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative. “It only takes a second, and it very well may save your life or the life of someone you love.”