The Elkhart County Traffic Safety Partnership is among the many partnerships and agencies increasing patrols as part of the national “Click It or Ticket” enforcement campaign ahead of Memorial Day weekend.
For the next three weeks, officers will be out in full force making sure drivers and passengers are buckled up and children are properly secure.
Their goal is to reduce the number of traffic injuries and fatalities from lack of seat belt use, a continuing concern. Data from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute shows that unbuckled motorists make up almost 40% of all passenger vehicle deaths in the state.
The overtime patrols are funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration with grants administered by ICJI.
The focus is not on writing tickets but to encourage people to buckle up in order to saves lives. Seat belts are your best form of protection in a crash and against dangerous drivers. At the end of the day, we want everyone to reach their destination safely.
Since the “Click It or Ticket” initiative began more than 20 years ago, seat belt use has gone up 30% in Indiana to 92.9%, which is slightly higher than the national average of 90.3%.
Despite making progress and advances in vehicle safety, in 2020, 226 unbuckled vehicle occupants lost their lives on Indiana roads – the second highest in the past decade. Young drivers, especially males, were the least likely to be buckled during a crash.
Vehicle collisions continue to be a leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 13, and NHTSA data shows that approximately 46% of all car seats are being used incorrectly. Parents and caregivers who do not buckle up are more likely to have kids who are improperly restrained.
Throughout the campaign, officers will be watching for seat belt and car seat violations while conducting high-visibility patrols during the day and night, when unrestrained driving is at its peak. Drivers can be cited for lack of seat belt use, but also for each unbuckled passenger under the age of 16.
Parents and caregivers are encouraged to make sure children are in the right car seat and that it’s used correctly and properly installed. Resources can be found at www.nhtsa.gov/TheRightSeat. To schedule an appointment with a certified car seat safety technician at one of Indiana’s 100 fitting stations, visit on.in.gov/SafeKids.