PennDOT, Pennsylvania State and local police are partnering for a nationwide “Click It or Ticket” seat-belt enforcement which starts today, May 19 and runs through June 8.
“Increased safety efforts, education and enforcement are helping to drive down the number of unbelted crashes and deaths, but there is still work to do,” PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch said. “For everyone’s safety, I urge all drivers to buckle up both day and night, regardless of how far they are traveling.”
Pennsylvania is one of 11 states and Ontario, Canada, participating in the “Border-to-Border” seat-belt initiative. The enforcement effort involves 350 law enforcement agencies across the northeast with increased enforcement at state borders. Throughout the “Click It or Ticket” mobilization, enforcement will focus on nighttime operations, using Traffic Enforcement Zones, and roving patrols.
Last year in Pennsylvania, 425 people died in unrestrained crashes statewide, a notable decrease from 503 such fatalities in 2012. Also, the number of crashes involving people not wearing seat belts decreased to 14,436 last year, down from 15,528 in 2012.
“Vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of death, with most fatalities being attributed to unbelted motorists,” said State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan. “Currently, the Commonwealth’s seat belt usage rate is 84 percent and it is our goal to increase this rate by the end of 2014.”
Motorists are reminded that Pennsylvania’s primary seat-belt law requires drivers and passengers under the age of 18 to buckle up, and children under the age of four must be properly restrained in an approved child safety seat. Children ages 4 to 8 must be restrained in an appropriate booster seat. In addition, children ages 8 to 18 must be must be in a seat belt when riding anywhere in the vehicle.
Also, drivers and front-seat passengers 18 years-old or older are required to buckle up. If motorists are stopped for a traffic violation and are not wearing their seat belt, they can receive a second ticket and second fine.
Funding for this enforcement effort comes from part of PennDOT’s statewide distribution of $1.7 million in federal funds from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Visit www.JustDrivePA.com for more information on seat-belt safety and PennDOT’s other traffic-safety initiatives.