Crackdown on buckling up | May 9, 2008 | Danville Express | |

Danville Express

Perspective - May 9, 2008

Crackdown on buckling up

Just in case someone out there hasn't gotten the message that it's important to buckle up, be warned: Law Enforcement agencies will be aggressively implementing the seatbelt law from May 12 to June 1 in the statewide Click It or Ticket campaign. They will be on the lookout for those who are not buckled up and for teens and children who are not properly restrained.

California has what is called a "primary seatbelt law," which means that every passenger in the vehicle, including the driver, must wear a seatbelt at all times. Drivers who are stopped during the campaign shouldn't even bother trying to justify their lack of seatbelt usage because law enforcement will not accept excuses or issue warnings, they will just give tickets. Tickets for first seatbelt violations range from $80 to $91 for adults and $330 to $401 for children under 16 years of age. In addition, children under 12 are required to ride properly restrained in the back seat.

Danville Police Chief Chris Wenzel reports that accident rates are down by one-third in this town, which he attributes to safety campaigns, including Click It or Ticket, which began in 2005.

California is hoping to get to the top in the nation in seatbelt usage; currently it is ranked fourth highest, at 94.6 percent. To this end, more than 280 law agencies throughout the state will participate in Click It or Ticket, which uses public education as well as enforcement. Nighttime patrols will boost compliance at night.

The disturbing news in California is that teen seatbelt usage lags behind the general population. In 2007, it was 88.9 percent, well below the overall state rate of 94.6 percent. This campaign is a good time for the remaining 5.4 percent of the population - and the 11.1 percent of teens - to get into the habit of "clicking it."


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