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September 22, 2017

Tough Enforcement on Seat Belt Violators This Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving, the Governor’s Highway Safety Program is teaming up with state and local law enforcement agencies on a high-visibility Click It or Ticket campaign to make sure all Thanksgiving travelers are wearing their seat belts.

Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel times of the year, when millions of Americans hit the road to spend time with friends and family. But more vehicles on the road means potential for more crashes and more fatalities. The Click It or Ticket campaign is designed to save lives by making sure those traveling on North Carolina roadways get the message to wear their seat belts, in every seat, every time.

During the 2015 Thanksgiving holiday period, there were 22 passenger vehicle occupants killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes, and 13 of those killed were not wearing seat belts.

“Tragically, 59 percent of the people who died in a traffic crash last Thanksgiving were not wearing a seat belt,” said Don Nail, director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program.  “This year, we will be making sure that all Thanksgiving travelers we see are wearing seat belts, and that all violators will be pulled over.”

During the annual Thanksgiving Click It or Ticket campaign, which begins today, Monday, Nov. 21, and continues through Sunday, Nov. 27, motorists will see an increased presence of law enforcement officers day and night across the state to keep those who drive our highways safe.

North Carolina law requires all passengers in a vehicle to be properly restrained and violations are punishable by fines of up to $179. But the bigger cost is that ultimately you could lose your life if you are involved in a crash. The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that people not wearing a seat belt in either the front or back seat of a vehicle are 30 times more likely to be ejected during a crash. Another sobering statistic estimates that in fatal crashes, more than three out of four people who are ejected die from their injuries.

Some of these tragic deaths could have been prevented by seat belt use. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration research indicates that proper seat belt use reduces the risk of fatal injury to front seat passengers by 45 percent, and the risk of moderate to serious injury by 50 percent.  North Carolina set a record 91.7 percent seat belt usage rate in 2015.

“The negative consequences from failing to wear seat belts can be observed across the state,” said Colonel Bill Grey, Commander of the North Carolina Highway Patrol.  “Furthermore, when you pair failing to wear a seatbelt with high speed, the results from being involved in a collision are devastating.”  “Our goal during the Thanksgiving holiday period is to ensure every motorist arrives to their destination safely.”

To complement the enforcement efforts, the N.C. Department of Transportation and GHSP produced several public service announcements to stress the importance of wearing a seat belt in Every Seat, Every Time.

To help you and your loved ones stay safe this Thanksgiving holiday, we recommend the following safety tips to drivers and passengers as they travel:

  • Buckle Up. Every Seat. Every Time;
  • Don’t drink and drive. Make sure you have a sober designated driver;
  • Obey the posted speed limit;
  • Keep a safe following distance;
  • Turn on your headlights in the rain or snow; and
  • Put away all distractions including cell phones – it can wait.

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