CHARLESTON, WV – As the season changes from winter to spring and more drivers hit the roads, the West Virginia Governor’s Highway Safety Program (WV GHSP) is reminding all drivers of the importance of seat belt use. The WV GHSP is coordinating a statewide Click It or Ticket high-visibility enforcement mobilization that runs from March 5-21, 2021.
West Virginia law enforcement officers will be out in full force, ticketing seat belt violators who are caught traveling without a buckled seat belt or transporting unrestrained children. Aimed at enforcing seat belt use to help keep all vehicle occupants safe, the statewide seat belt campaign is running in preparation of the national Click It or Ticket high-visibility enforcement mobilization in May, prior to the beginning of the busy summer travel season.
“We want every person in a vehicle–whether it’s the driver, a passenger, or a child in a car seat–to be properly secured, every trip, every time,” said Governor Jim Justice.
“I’ve said it before and will say it again: if you knew you would be involved in a crash, wouldn’t you want to be buckled? A seat belt really is your best defense against death or injury, so why wouldn’t you buckle up? I worked the scenes of many crashes as a former law enforcement officer. I have seen too many people literally pay for not using a seat belt, with their lives. The risk just isn’t worth it,” said Bob Tipton, WV GHSP Director.
In 2019, there were 9,466 unbuckled passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in the United States. To help prevent crash fatalities, we need to step up seat belt enforcement, day and night.
People who live in rural areas might believe that their crash exposure is lower, but in 2019, there were 11,971 passenger vehicle fatalities in rural locations, compared to 10,187 fatalities in urban locations. Out of those fatalities, 48% of those killed in the rural locations were not wearing their seat belts, compared to 45% in urban locations.
“We still have about 10 percent of West Virginia drivers and passengers who still aren’t buckling their seat belts. We are working to change that. Our goal is to have 100% of drivers in West Virginia buckling their seat belts every time they travel in a vehicle,” Tipton continued.
Wearing your seat belt is not just a good idea; it is required by law. Day and night, front seat and back, every trip, every time: Click It or Ticket. Don’t just buckle up to avoid a ticket. The values of our families’ and friends’ lives in West Virginia are priceless—and much higher in value than the money violators pay if ticketed. If you are caught driving while unbuckled and you get a ticket, look at it as your wakeup call. A ticket is less expensive than paying with your life or the lives of your family and friends.
“Click It or Ticket isn’t about citations; it’s about saving lives,” concluded Tipton.
For more information about the West Virginia Governor’s Highway Safety Program, visit www.dmv.gov/ghsp or call 304-926-2509.