If you’ve driven through Berryville this week you have seen the signs peppering the roadside announcing, “Click It or Ticket.” The Town of Berryville has joined law enforcement officials across Virginia in the annual two week mobilization event. The high visibility enforcement program is designed to raise safety belt usage in order to prevent injuries and deaths on the streets and highways of the Commonwealth of Virginia. During the mobilization, law enforcement officials will be cracking down on motorists who fail to obey all traffic laws, including seat belt and child safety seat use.
Statewide the safety belt compliance rate is currently 80.5 percent. Law enforcement officials goal this year is to increase that usage rate to 83.7 percent through the upcoming “Click It or Ticket” enforcement wave.
“Buckling up every one in your vehicle on every ride is a habit every Virginian needs to develop,” said Virginia State Police Superintendent Colonel W. Steven Flaherty. “The fact that 20 percent of the population still insists on putting their lives at risk by not wearing a seat belt is not only disturbing, but a tragedy waiting to happen,”
Crash statistics underscore the importance of wearing safety belts every time you get in a vehicle. While Virginia has seen a steady decline in traffic related fatalities, preliminary data from 2010 indicates that there were still a total of 740 fatalities on Virginia roads. The likelihood of being killed in a crash rises significantly for those who are unrestrained in a vehicle. Data shows that of those fatalities, 314 were not restrained at the time of the crash.
“We need to continue to make the case that seat belts really do work,” said Berryville Police Chief W. Neal White, “We will do that by hitting the roads and enforcing all traffic laws 24/7, no excuses, no warnings, and we will be paying particular attention to seat belt use.”
Berryville Police are also planning a local twist to the statewide campaign called, “Click It For Cones.” Chief White said that they will be partnering with the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office to operate compliance checkpoints on E. Main Street and South Buckmarsh Street. Through a partnership with Tastee Freez, police will be distributing coupons to people that are found to be wearing their seat belts at the checkpoints. The E. Main Street checkpoint will occur this Friday from 1-2 pm and the Buckmarsh detail will be June 3, 2011 from 10-11 AM.
The “Click It or Ticket” program is in effect from May 22 thtough June 6. Buckle up and encourage your loved ones to do the same. You’ll save the cost of a ticket and may even save a life.