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Next generation 'Click It or Ticket' mobilization starts

Posted: November 16, 2009 5:13 p.m.
Updated: November 16, 2009 5:16 p.m.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) today announced over $3 million in traffic safety grants to over 175 cities plus the California Highway Patrol (CHP) for special "Click It or Ticket" seat belt enforcement operations over the next year.

The grants will put additional law enforcement officers on California's roadways from November 17 - 30, making sure everyone in the family gets home safely this holiday season by buckling seat belts every trip, day and night. Officers will be out in force looking for anyone - driver, passenger or child - not properly restrained.

"There is absolutely no question that seat belts save lives," said Christopher J. Murphy, Director of the California Office of Traffic
Safety. "Buckling up will not only save you a heavy fine, it can also save your life."

Currently California has a seat belt usage rate of 95.4 percent, but that still means over 1.5 million people in the state are not buckling up. Properly restrained drivers, passengers and children have a 50 percent better chance of surviving a crash than unbelted occupants.

Those ejected from vehicles in crashes or roll-overs are up to 35 times more likely to die than restrained occupants. Each traffic fatality carries an economic impact of over $4 million to families and society.

"There are no excuses. Law enforcement will not be giving warnings," said California Highway Patrol Commissioner Joe Farrow. "Nothing is worth risking the lives of you or your family. This should be the season of joy and thanksgiving, not tragedy."

The fine for a seat belt violation for vehicle occupants over the age of 16 has recently risen to $142. The fine for failing to properly buckle up any child under the age of 16 increases to about $360 per child for a first offense and up to $980 on a second offense.

Several traffic-related departments within the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency are working together and through the state's Strategic Highway Safety Plan to promote "Click It or Ticket." In addition to the OTS and CHP efforts, changeable message signs operated by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will carry "Click It or Ticket" messaging during much the campaign, as will LED screens in various field offices operated by the Department of Motor Vehicles. The campaign grants were awarded by the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.



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