Each year more than 120 people, who are not wearing their seat belt at the time of their crash, die on Maryland’s roadways. Even low speed crashes can produce serious injuries or fatalities to unbelted vehicle occupants statewide. Southern Maryland is joining the Click it or Ticket campaign, which runs to May 31. The goal is simple – to remind all drivers and passengers about the lifesaving benefits of wearing a seat belt every time you ride in a vehicle, day or night, and in every seat.
Buckling a seat belt literally takes less than three seconds. As we approach Memorial Day weekend and the summer vacation season, we want to make sure people are doing the one thing that can save them in a crash, buckling up.
Maryland crash data shows that those who were reported as unbelted at the time of their crash were 67 percent more likely to sustain a moderate to fatal injury. In addition, seat belts also reduce the risk of moderate-to-critical injury by 50 percent. In 2014, more than 92 percent of drivers and front-seat passengers in Maryland were observed to be wearing their seatbelts, but crash data shows that an alarming percentage of people killed in crashes were unbelted.
“Using your seat belt is critically important and everyone must be buckled,” stated MVA Administrator, Milt Chaffee. “Unbelted back seat passengers become deadly projectiles and cause devastating injuries to those in the front seat. Our mission to move Maryland Toward Zero Deaths relies heavily on getting everyone to buckle up every time they get in a vehicle.”
Besides potentially saving your life, putting on your seat belt could mean keeping money in your pocket. Maryland kicks off its participation in the Click it or Ticket mobilization and area police will have zero tolerance for seat belt violators. A fine will cost you $83 including court costs.
More than 89,000 seat belt citations are written each year in Maryland, so it’s obvious that we’re very serious about seat belt enforcement. This is not about writing tickets. This is about saving lives. We want to see 100 percent seat belt use because we know that seat belt use saves lives.
During this crackdown, law enforcement agencies will be taking a no-excuses approach to seat belt law enforcement, writing citations day and night. Seat belt use during night time hours often declines and law enforcement is taking special measures to ticket unbelted drivers and passengers at night. In addition to lower seat belt use at night, those driving or riding in pickup trucks are often found to be unbelted at a higher percentage than other passenger vehicles. People often quote that a larger vehicle like a pickup truck will keep them safe in a crash yet most deaths in pickups occur in rollover crashes. Pickup trucks roll over as a result of crashes more often than passenger cars and wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of death by 60 percent and the risk of injury by 65 percent for light truck occupants.
There are lives on the line . Wear your seat belt, drive sober or have a sober ride home, and park your phone before you drive. That’s a combination that everyone can live with.
NOTE: Click it or Ticket is a major component of Maryland’s Toward Zero Deaths campaign, which focuses on promoting seat belt use while also preventing impaired driving, aggressive driving, and distracted driving. For more information on the Toward Zero Deaths campaign, please visit towardzerodeathsmd.com.