Every year during this holiday period, law enforcement agencies join forces day and night, coast-to-coast, to deliver the most successful seatbelt enforcement campaign ever.  The “Click It or Ticket” National Enforcement Mobilization dates are May 18 – 31, and August 21 – September 7, 2009.  Started by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, most states are onboard in stressing the importance of wearing seatbelts and using proper child seat restraints.  Many persons who died in traffic crashes were not wearing seatbelts.  In the United States, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for 15-20 year olds.

With the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, law enforcement agencies are launching campaigns to let drivers know, especially teenage drivers, that there will be tickets written for all persons under 18 who are not wearing seatbelts, whether they are in the front or back seat, and that children less than five years old and under 36” tall must be safely secured in a child seat.

Similarly, Texas law states that if any passenger under age 17 is not wearing a seat belt- front or back seat- the driver will be ticketed.  Since 1999, the Texas Department of Public Safety has had a Zero tolerance policy regarding seatbelts and child safety seats.  Violations can result in fines up to $200, plus additional court costs.

A September, 2008, report published by the NHTSA, showed that seatbelt use was 84% in passenger cars, 86% in vans and suv’s, and 74% by truck occupants, which indicates that seatbelt use is improving every year.  This followed daylight observations in 1800 sites nationwide.  States with primary seatbelt laws averaged 13% higher at 88% use of seat belts, than states with secondary seatbelt laws, which had 75% use of seatbelts.  Primary seatbelt law states allow citations for seatbelt violations alone.  Secondary law states are allowed to issue seatbelt tickets if the vehicle is stopped for another violation.

So, whether in your state it’s “Buckle Up, America, “Buckle Up, your state”), “Click It or Ticket”, it’s a good idea to follow the law and do all you can to keep yourself and your passengers safe.  Your holiday will end on a better note if you don’t have to go to court to pay a fine when you get home.  After you buckle up, drive carefully, watch for the other drivers, and have a safe holiday!