Seat-belt initiative kicks off 2018 ‘Click It or Ticket’

To kick off the 2018 Click It or Ticket seat-belt initiative with the highest level of support, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration spearheaded Border to Border. It was a one-day national seat belt awareness kickoff event coordinated by participating state highway safety offices and their respective law enforcement liaisons.

The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, along with the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, was part of the nationwide effort, according to a release.

The B2B program aimed to increase law enforcement participation by coordinating highly visible seat-belt enforcement and providing seat-belt fact sheets for drivers at heavily traveled and highly visible state border checkpoints.

The B2B event was held Monday, May 21, commencing the Click It or Ticket week, which runs through June 3 and covers the busy Memorial Day holiday weekend, according to the release.

Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb

“Past Border to Border initiatives have shown how helpful it can be to our overall goal of spreading the message about the importance of buckling up,” Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb said in the release.

The B2B kickoff was to include an enforcement crackdown 4–8 p.m. on May 21. The focus of B2B was on the nighttime hours, during which seat belt use is at its lowest.

“We are working across state lines to do all we can to keep our drivers and passengers safe. Wearing a seat belt is the No. 1 thing anyone can do to help prevent death or injury during a vehicle crash,” Sheriff Lamb said in the release.

During the 2017 B2B program, participating law enforcement offices issued citations for 5,695 seat-belt and child-car-seat violations, as well as 14,619 citations for other traffic infractions. This, in turn, reminded drivers to drive safer, according to the release.

“Our goal isn’t to write citations, but we do know tickets talk,” Sheriff Lamb said in the release.

“The B2B program gives us a chance to get out there on the roads before the real crackdown begins and warn drivers that we will be on the streets and we will be issuing tickets for those driving or riding unbuckled.”

According to NHTSA, nearly half (48 percent) of the passenger-vehicle occupants killed in crashes in 2016 were unrestrained. At night from 6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m., that number increased to 56 percent of those killed. That’s why one focus of this year’s B2B and Click It or Ticket campaigns is nighttime enforcement, according to the release.

During the week of Click It or Ticket, participating law enforcement agencies will be taking a no-excuses approach to seat-belt law enforcement, writing citations day and night. In Arizona, the maximum penalty for a seat belt violation is $89.

In 2016, 952 people in Arizona were killed in motor vehicle crashes. Of those killed, 250 were not wearing a seat belt.

“If you know a friend or a family member who does not buckle up when they drive, please ask them to consider changing their habits,” Sheriff Lamb said in the release.

“Help us spread this life-saving message before one more friend or family member is killed as a result of this senseless inaction. Seat belts save lives, and everyone—front seat and back, child and adult—needs to remember to buckle up—every trip, every time.”

For more information on the Click It or Ticket mobilization, visit www.nhtsa.gov/ciot.

The Apache Junction Independent is mailed each month to 35,000 homes.

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