Click It or Ticket campaign launches

Published 12:41 pm Monday, May 23, 2011

It’s “Click It or Ticket” time in Georgia: all across Georgia, hundreds of police agencies will run roadchecks day and night beginning May 23rd and running through the Memorial Day travel period to track down drivers and passengers who don’t bother to buckle-up when the sun goes down.

When safety experts studied nationwide fatality stats hoping to save more lives, they made this deadly discovery: nighttime passenger vehicle occupants are among those least likely to buckle up and most likely to die in crashes when unrestrained. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has found that of those who died in nighttime crashes in 2009, nearly two-thirds (62 percent) were not wearing seatbelts at the time of their fatal crash.

The alarming facts are that in 2009, 11,593 people died in traffic crashes across the country between the hours of 6 p.m. and 5:59 a.m. According to NHTSA, we know that 452 Georgians died in traffic crashes in 2009 because they did not buckle their seat belts. That same year, there were another 111 Georgia crash deaths where restraint use was unconfirmed.

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Statewide, almost 1,300 people were killed in traffic crashes in 2009.

Seatbelt crackdown coming

“Our law enforcement community witnesses horrific car crashes every day and so many of the deaths and injuries that result from those crashes could’ve been prevented by a properly buckled safety belt,” said Director Harris Blackwood of the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS).

“And that’s what all of our officers, troopers and deputies will be thinking of during this May enforcement campaign of Click It or Ticket. And lest you think Click It or Ticket is just an unnecessary crackdown, remember that this mobilization has helped raise the national observed safety belt usage rate to an all time high of 85 percent in 2010.”

In 2009 alone, seatbelts saved an estimated 12,713 lives…and more than 72,000 lives from 2005 to 2009. In fact, more than a quarter million lives have been saved since 1975. But sadly, 23,283 occupants of cars, trucks, SUV’s and vans were killed in traffic crashes in 2009 and 53 percent of fatally injured passenger vehicles occupants were not wearing seatbelts at the time of their fatal crash.

Seat belts save lives

But the good news is that NHTSA research shows when worn correctly, seatbelts reduce the risk of fatal injury by 45 percent for front-seat passenger car occupants and by 60 percent for pickup truck, SUV and van occupants. In fact, only one percent of crash victims who are buckled up are totally ejected from their vehicles, compared with 31 percent of those who are unbuckled.

State law authorizes enforcement officers to write tickets by simply observing unbelted drivers or passengers. So Georgia state troopers, Georgia State Patrol NightHawk Patrols, and H.E.A.T. Units will roll-out high visibility enforcement measures during the Memorial Day holidays.

“Wearing your seatbelt costs you nothing, but not wearing it could cost you everything,” said GOHS Director Harris. “You shouldn’t risk a ticket because you’ll also end up risking your life. So remember to buckle up day and night.”

Campaign part of “Summer H.E.A.T”

Georgia’s 100 Days of Summer H.E.A.T. speed and DUI enforcement campaign also begins May 23rd. H.E.A.T. stands for “Highway Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic.” It’s a multi-jurisdictional traffic safety enforcement campaign safeguarding motorists during the heavy summer travel period from Memorial Day through the Fourth of July and Labor Day holidays. H.E.A.T. enforcement teams will also focus on late-night safetybelt violators. For more information on our lifesaving highway safety initiatives, visit

The Click It Or Ticket enforcement campaign runs Monday, May 23rd through Sunday, June 5th, 2011.