Dover, DE – Over the past two weeks, officers from approximately 24 State, County, and municipal law enforcement agencies issued a total of 1,195 citations to unbuckled motorists during the 10th Anniversary of the Click It or Ticket campaign. The enforcement portion of the campaign ran from May 22nd through June 4th and involved traffic safety checkpoints and saturation patrols both day and night.
For the fourth year in a row officers participating in Click It or Ticket issued fewer seat belt citations than the year before. In 2008, officers issued 2,347 citations -that is 335 more issued than in 2009, 708 more issued than in 2010, and 1,152 more than this year. Office of Highway Safety (OHS) officials are hoping that this tread means good news and will show that more Delawareans are Buckling Up.
“It’s a known fact that seat belts save lives and we are glad more people are actively taking part in this life saving behavior,” said Jana Simpler, Director of the Office of Highway Safety. “Wearing a seat belt is the simplest thing you can do to improve your chances of surviving a crash by as much as 50%.”
Delaware’s current statewide seat belt usage rate is 91%. OHS officials have begun their evaluation to determine if there has been any increase in the state’s belt usage rate by conducting a series of observational seat belt surveys at locations throughout Delaware. Office of Highway Safety staff are surveying motorists on roads at 82 sites throughout the state and recording whether drivers and passengers are wearing seat belts. Motorists on all types of roadways from interstates to two-lane roads will be observed. Survey results should be available by early July.
“We hope that the tread of the four year decrease in seat belt citations and the awareness and enforcement of the Click It or Ticket campaign will be reflected again with an increase in our statewide seat belt usage rate,” said Alison Kirk, Community Relations Officer for OHS.
Even if seat belt use does increase, OHS officials remained concerned about the lack of seat belt use in fatal crashes. Since January 1st, 52% of all drivers and passengers killed in vehicle crashes in the First State were not wearing seat belts. Many of them died in crashes where lives could have been saved if they had just taken a moment to buckle up.
During the Click It or Ticket enforcement period, officers statewide also arrested 14 people for DUI, issued 2 citations for underage drinking violation, and cited another 328 drivers for speeding. Additionally, officers issued 41 citations to drivers for child restraint violations, apprehended 30 wanted individuals, made 13 drug arrests, 1 felony arrest, and issued 764 citations for a variety of other traffic violations.
Click It or Ticket is a nationwide seat belt enforcement and awareness campaign aimed at saving lives by increasing the number of people who consistently buckle up.
Delaware’s campaign began on May 12th with the 10th Anniversary Kick Off event held at Dover International Raceway in front of the Monster Monument. Campaign awareness messages were also aired statewide on radio and internet. New this year OHS partnered with Racing Limos of Dover to wrap the hood of a limo with the Click It or Ticket message. OHS also launched a Facebook page and conducted contests to encourage seat belt use. Additionally, several businesses and schools statewide participated in the Buckle Up Stencil project. The stencil serves as a visual reminder to Buckle Up before leaving the participating business or organizations parking lot and is an image of two hands clicking a seat belt together with the works Buckle Up underneath.
Click It or Ticket is one of three traffic safety campaigns under the state’s summertime safety enforcement and awareness initiative, “120 Days of Summer HEAT” (Highway Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic). The Summer Heat campaign is a four month long crackdown on traffic violators in Delaware coordinated by the state Office of Highway Safety.