If you’ve driven down Buckmarsh this week you’ve seen the signs posted along the curb, “Click It or Ticket.” The annual initiative is a nationwide effort to focus on seat belt use that runs from May 18th through May 31st. “Click It or Ticket” and other high-visibility enforcement campaigns have a proven track record of success. Police officials say the percentage rate of drivers that use seat belts has shown improvement over the years, however passenger belt usage is still a area of concern among Virginia law enforcement. Officials stress that it is just as important for passengers to buckle up as it is for the operator of the vehicle. Consistency is the key, as drivers and passengers must make it a habit to buckle up every time. The observed national belt usage rate has risen by 25 percentage points in the past 14 years. There is however, still much work to be done. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that teens and young adults, nighttime drivers of every age, young men 18 to 34, and pickup drivers and their passengers continue to have some of the lowest belt usage rates.
The Berryville Police Department will join in this effort through education and enforcement efforts. Town police reported that last year the department saw seat belt usage rates increase from 73% at the beginning of the program to 86% at the conclusion of the enforcement wave. State usage rate also increased to 82.27% which is the highest in recent history.
So during “Click It or Ticket” remember that law enforcement is watching you. It’s the law and if you do not wear your seat belt you should anticipate that you will eventually be cited for the violation. People who fail to buckle up while on the road are also at a much greater risk of dying in crashes than those who wear seat belts. So for your own safety make it habit to buckle up every time you drive a vehicle and make sure all of your passengers do the same.