By MARY RAINWATER
The Palestine Police Department and City Marshal’s Office has announced their participation in the 2013 national Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement mobilization to help save lives by cracking down on those who don’t buckle up.
The annual campaign, which runs from May 20 through June 2, utilizes state and local law enforcement officers and highway safety advocates across the country to help save more lives by strongly enforcing seat belt laws around the clock.
In 2012 nationally, 86 percent of occupants wore safety belts, according to a survey by the National Center for Statistics and Analysis of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This is up from 84 percent the previous year.
“These numbers are good, but not good enough,” PPD Sgt. James Muniz said. “We are still concerned with the other 14 percent of the population who do not consistently wear a safety belt.”
Seat belt use saves thousands of lives across America each year. In 2011 alone, seat belts saved an estimated 11,949 lives nationwide.
In fatal crashes during 2011, 77 percent of passenger vehicle occupants who were thrown from their vehicles were killed. However, only 1 percent of crash victims who were buckled up were totally ejected from their vehicles, compared to 31 percent of those who were unbelted.
Younger motorists — young men in particular — are most at risk.
Among teens and young adults, ages 18-34, who were killed in fatal crashes in 2011, 64 percent were not buckled up at the time of the crash — the highest percentage of any age group. The number jumps to 66 percent when only men in this age group are included.
Nationally, 62 percent of the 10,135 passenger vehicle occupants who were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes overnight (6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m.) in 2011 were not wearing their seat belts at the time of the fatal crash, compared to 43 percent during the daytime hours.
While this year’s Click It or Ticket enforcement mobilization runs from May 20 through June 2, motorists should know that officers are out enforcing seat belt laws year-round, both day and night.
“The Palestine Police Department and Palestine City Marshal’s Office ask that citizens be safe during this holiday season, and buckle up,” Muniz said. “Driving safe includes wearing a seatbelt, because you don’t know how the other person is going to drive.”
For more on the national Click It or Ticket mobilization, please visit www.nhtsa.gov.
Mary Rainwater may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org