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Virginia Highway Safety Office News Releases

Monday, May 04, 2015
Media Contact: Brandy Brubaker
Department of Motor Vehicles
(804) 367-6834

Click It or Ticket Campaign Focuses on Seat Belt Use
Virginians Encouraged to Buckle Up to Save Lives

RICHMOND During this year's national Click It or Ticket mobilization in May, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles' (DMV) Highway Safety Office wants motorists to ask themselves one question: Why should I always wear a seat belt?

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.

"A seat belt can make the difference between life and death," said DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb, the Governor's Highway Safety Representative. "Being buckled during a crash keeps you safe inside the vehicle instead of being thrown out, which almost always means death."

Holcomb is calling for the 20 percent of Virginians who still don't wear their seat belts to "reject ejection" by buckling up on every trip. If the above reasons aren't enough, perhaps knowing you could harm the other people in your vehicle will convince you.

"Unbelted passengers become missiles and can kill other vehicle occupants on impact," Holcomb said.

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 seatbelts, and this is particularly the case in head-on collisions.

"The next time you believe your poor choices won't impact others, think again," Holcomb added. "Let's always use the most effective traffic safety device in your vehicle, a seat belt."

In 2014, there were 256 unrestrained fatalities in Virginia. This amounts to 52 percent of all fatalities in vehicles equipped with safety restraints.

Data shows that younger males driving at night were most likely to die in an unbelted fatal crash in Virginia last year:

  • 60 percent of those who died in unbelted crashes (154) were ages 21 to 50
  • 48 percent of the unbelted fatalities (122) occurred between 6 p.m. and 3 a.m.
  • Of unbelted fatalities, 65 percent were males and 34 percent were females

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 will be ramping up safety belt enforcement during the month of May.

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