(LITTLE ROCK) – When motorists take to the roads this Memorial Day holiday period, the Arkansas State Police Highway Safety Office urges everyone to buckle up.
State, county and city law enforcement officers will begin devoting additional patrols on May 20th to the national “Click It or Ticket” seat belt enforcement campaign which is commissioned to crack down on motorists who are not using seat belts.
“As we kick-off the busy summer driving season, it’s important that everyone buckle up on every trip, every time, both day and night – no excuses,” said Colonel Stan Witt, Director of the Arkansas State Police and Governor’s Highway Safety Representative. “Our troopers are committed to this lifesaving initiative and prepared to ticket anyone not wearing their seat belt."
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 52 percent of 21,253 passenger vehicle occupants killed in 2011 were not wearing their seat belts at the time of the crash.
Deaths involving individuals not wearing seat belts are more prevalent at night than during daylight hours. During the 2011 reporting period, 62 percent of the 10,135 passenger vehicle occupants killed during the overnight hours (6 PM to 5:59 AM) were not wearing their seat belts at the time of the motor vehicle crashes.
Crash investigation reports from 2011 document the same trend in Arkansas, indicating a 64 percent increase in nighttime fatalities among those not wearing seat belts compared to 48 percent during daylight hours.
“Seat belts save thousands of lives every year, but far too many motorists are still not buckling up, especially at night when the risk of a crash is even greater,” said Colonel Witt. “We want everyone to have a safe summer, but it requires an important step on the part of motorists, clicking the seat belt.”
In 2011, seat belts saved an estimated 11,949 lives nationwide, according to NHTSA. While this year’s Click It or Ticket enforcement mobilization runs from May 20 through June 2nd, officers are enforcing seat belt laws year round.
For more on the Click It or Ticket mobilization, visit www.nhtsa.gov or contact the Arkansas State Police Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136.