Come Together for Seat Belt Awareness and Enforcement Campaign Joint Effort Across Maryland Targets Unbuckled Drivers, Passengers
Over the past five years, failure to wear a seat belt has been a contributing factor in about one of every five motor vehicle fatalities on Maryland roadways. To help reduce that number, the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration’s (MDOT MVA) Highway Safety Office is partnering with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and state and local law enforcement to kick off the annual Click It or Ticket seat belt safety campaign. Through the campaign, nearly 40 agencies across Maryland are focusing on seat belt enforcement, reminding motorists to buckle up, every seat, every time.
“The three seconds it takes to buckle your seat belt could save your life,” said MDOT MVA Administrator Chrissy Nizer, who also serves as Governor Larry Hogan’s Highway Safety Representative. “The driver sets the example – we’ve found that passengers are much more likely to buckle up if the driver does.”
In Maryland, 90.3% of drivers and front-seat passengers wear seat belts when traveling on state roadways. In vehicles where the driver is buckled, 93% of passengers buckle up as well. Conversely, in vehicles with unbuckled drivers, only 40% of passengers buckle up.
Unbuckled passengers can become projectiles in a crash, causing serious or fatal injuries to others in the car. Occupants ejected from vehicles are 90 times more likely to be killed in the event of a crash.
In Maryland, every driver and passenger must wear a seat belt. Children under age 8 must be in an appropriate booster or child safety seat unless they are 4 feet, 9 inches or taller. If passengers older than 16 are not wearing a seat belt, the driver can receive an $83 ticket for each offense.
Law enforcement across the region are kicking off the 2020 Click It or Ticket campaign today with a multi-state “Border 2 Border” enforcement effort. Throughout November, advertising will run locally and nationally on billboards, television, radio and online to spread awareness of stepped-up enforcement. MDOT MVA will also promote its new campaign, Be the Buckled Up Driver, which focuses on common excuses often used by drivers and passengers for not wearing a seat belt, and why they are not valid compared to the most important reason for wearing a seat belt: because it saves lives.
“Seat belt use is not only the law, but its proven effective in saving lives on our highways – a goal we all share,” said MDOT Secretary Greg Slater. “Our ongoing partnership with law enforcement agencies in and around Maryland will help us remind drivers and passengers that we all play a role in keeping one another safe as we travel for work, school, shopping, recreation and family gatherings.”
Agencies participating in Click It or Ticket include Maryland State Police, Maryland Transportation Authority Police and Maryland Natural Resources Police, as well agencies from the following counties:
- Allegany – Allegany County Sheriff’s Office, Cumberland Police Department, Frostburg City Police Department;
- Baltimore – Baltimore County Police Department;
- Calvert – Calvert County Sheriff’s Office;
- Caroline – Caroline County Police Department, Denton Police Department;
- Carroll – Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, Mt. Airy Police Department, Sykesville Police Department, Taneytown Police Department, Westminster Police Department;
- Cecil – Elkton Police Department
- Charles – Charles County Sheriff’s Office;
- Dorchester – Cambridge Police Department, Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office;
- Frederick – Frederick City Police Department;
- Harford – Aberdeen Police Department, Belair Police Department, Harford County Police Department, Havre De Grace Police;
- Montgomery – Gaithersburg Police Department, Montgomery County Police Department;
- Prince George’s – Bowie Police Department, Prince Georges County Police Department;
- Queen Anne’s – Centerville Police Department, Queen Anne’s Sheriff’s Office
- Somerset – Princess Anne Police Department;
- Talbot – Easton Police Department, Talbot County Sheriff’s Office;
- Washington – Hagerstown Police Department, Washington County Sheriff’s Office;
- Wicomico – Fruitland Police Department, Wicomico Sheriff’s Office; and
- Worcester – Ocean City Police Department, Snow Hill Police Department.
“As our troopers continue to focus on the reduction of injuries and deaths due to crashes on our highways, motorists are urged to practice safe driving habits,” said Colonel Woodrow Jones III, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police. “An important part of our mission is highway safety and the use of a seat belt is imperative to the safety of our drivers and passengers – front seat and back seat.”