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Time to buckle-up or pay the price

POSTED: June 5, 2008 5:00 a.m.
ATLANTA — Click it or ticket, Georgia. In 2006 alone, seat belts saved an estimated 15,383 American lives. Yet, nearly one in five Americans still fail to wear safety belts while driving or riding, resulting in an additional 5,441 lives that could have been saved nationwide. Half the Georgians killed in car crashes in 2006 were not buckled in.  
 
CRACKDOWN COMING
Georgia law enforcement officers have again launched their “Click It Or Ticket” program designed to promote seat-belt use among the state’s motorists. Officials will run road checks day and night this Memorial Day travel period to target drivers and passengers who don’t bother to buckle-up. Offenders will be ticketed.  

WHY AT NIGHT?
When safety experts studied nationwide fatality statistics, they noted the largest proportion of crash-related deaths occurred after the sun had set.

LEARN FROM THE PAST
“Every time Georgia law enforcement officers write safety-belt citations during the upcoming ‘Click It Or Ticket’ campaign, they will be thinking about the highway deaths that occurred here 2006,” said Bob Dallas, director of the Governor's Office of Highway Safety. “It’s tragic to report, but 15 of the 22 Georgia crash fatalities from the 2006 Memorial Day holiday involved victims who weren’t wearing seatbelts.”

RAISING SURVIVAL RATES
15,000 Americans were killed after sunset on our nation’s roads and highways in 2006. According to findings released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 64 percent of those passenger vehicle occupants killed during nighttime crashes were NOT wearing seat belts.

HOLIDAY ROAD CHECKS
Wearing your seatbelt won’t cost you anything, but not wearing one certainly will, said Brian M. McLaughlin, the senior associate administrator for Traffic Injury Control at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, who was in Atlanta for the kick-off of Georgia’s Memorial Day “Click It Or Ticket” campaign. “So, don't risk it with a ticket, or worse, a life. Please remember to buckle up day and night — Click It or Ticket.”

SEAT BELTS SAVE LIVES
NHTSA research data show 72 percent of passenger vehicle occupants involved in serious crashes nationwide in 2006 survived when wearing safety belts correctly. Seat belts have proven to reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants by 45 percent. In pick-up trucks, SUVs and mini vans, seat belts reduce fatal injury by up to 60 percent.

SUMMER H.E.A.T. BACK IN THE HOLIDAY FORECAST

Since May also launches Georgia’s 100 Days of Summer H.E.A.T. speed and DUI enforcement campaign, Highway Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic teams also will be on the lookout for aggressive or dangerous drivers. H.E.A.T is a multi-jurisdictional traffic-safety enforcement campaign designed to safeguard the lives of law-abiding motorists during the major summer travel period from Memorial Day through the Fourth of July and Labor Day holidays.
 

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