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Virginia Highway Safety Office News Releases

Monday, May 21, 2007
Media Contact: Mary Ann Rayment
Department of Motor Vehicles
(757) 416-1741

Virginia Launches Click It or Ticket
Law Enforcement Working to Boost Seat Belt Use

RICHMOND - DMV: The Virginia Highway Safety Office will be joining hundreds of law enforcement from across Virginia and the nation during mid-may through Memorial Day in an aggressive Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement campaign to reduce highway fatalities.

In Virginia in 2006, there were 961 fatalities on Virginia roadways; of those, 453 were not restrained.

The goal is simple-- to save more lives by convincing drivers and passengers, especially motorists at night, to always buckle up. Seat belts work. When worn correctly, seat belts have proven to reduce the risk of fatal injury to front seat passenger car occupants by 45 percent and by 60 percent in pickup trucks, SUV's and mini-vans.

"Seat belts clearly save lives. But, unfortunately, too many folks still need a tough reminder, so we are supporting law enforcement who will be out enforcing the traffic laws in Virginia" said D. B. Smit, Governor's Highway Safety Representative and DMV Commissioner. "Wearing your seat belt costs you nothing, but the cost for not wearing it certainly will. So unless you want to risk a ticket or worse, your life, please remember to buckle up every ride, day and night."

In 2006 Virginia recorded a 78.6 percent seat belt use rate, this was a decline from the 80.4 percent high reached in 2005. This is well below the nationwide seat belt use rate of 81 percent as measured by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's National Occupant Protection Use Survey. "This is clearly unacceptable", said Smit, "Virginians are known for striving for excellence. I ask everyone in Virginia to work to raise this use rate above the national average."

Virginia law states that law enforcement can cite anyone driving a vehicle in which an occupant through age 15 is not wearing a seat belt or is not properly restrained in a child safety seat. Further, the law also provides that drivers stopped for other violations can be cited if they are not buckled up. This also applies to all front seat passengers 16 years and over.

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