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Virginia Highway Safety Office News Releases

Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Media Contact: Sunni Brown
Department of Motor Vehicles
(804) 367-6834

Click It Or Ticket Effort Means Officers Looking for Violators
Virginians Encouraged to Buckle Up Every Trip

RICHMOND - Law enforcement officers across Virginia and the nation are out in full force during May looking for seat belt violators as part of the national Click It or Ticket enforcement mobilization. Seat belts prevent ejection, which is one of the leading causes of death and serious injury during a crash. Without a seat belt, a person's body becomes a missile inside the vehicle, endangering everyone else in the car.

"Don't risk death or hurting others in your vehicle," said Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb, the Governor's Highway Safety Representative. "If you're driving, the second action you need to take after fastening your own seat belt is to insist all your passengers are wearing their belts too."

Day and night, local law enforcement officers are on the lookout for those not wearing their seat belts - and for good reason. Last year in Virginia, 54 percent of all traffic fatalities, or 310 deaths, were unrestrained drivers and passengers, and most of the unrestrained fatalities (144 or 46 percent) occurred between the hours of 6 p.m. and 3 a.m. In 2012 nationwide, 61 percent of passenger vehicle occupants killed at night (6 p.m. - 5:59 a.m.) were not wearing their seat belts. DMV's Virginia Highway Safety Office encourages all Virginians to buckle up on every trip, every time, no matter what time of day.

Also last year in Virginia, 118 (38 percent) of the unrestrained traffic deaths were young people ages 21 to 35, and 73 percent were males. In addition, drivers and passengers in pickup trucks had the lowest seat belt use rates, along with passengers in work vans.

"These numbers tell us young males, many of them pickup drivers, are not buckling up and are dying on our roadways," Holcomb said. "Those who drive and ride in pickup trucks may think that their large vehicle will protect them more than other vehicles in a crash. This false sense of security may cause them to not wear their seat belts, but the stats show that this bravado is misplaced."

Simply put, seat belts hold drivers and passengers in place, helping the driver to maintain control during a collision. The shoulder belt keeps the driver from pitching forward into the steering wheel, dashboard and windshield, and keeps passengers from being ejected and from flying around the vehicle injuring others.

"We want to do everything we can to reach those who don't buckle up so we can save their lives," Holcomb said. "If you are close to someone who doesn't wear a seat belt on every trip, please remind them they have so much to lose, including you."

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