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ENFORCEMENT IS KEY TO CHANGE MOTORIST HABITS - CLICK IT OR TICKET, DAY AND NIGHT AIMED AT SEAT BELT

May 17, 2012 (LITTLE ROCK) – Motorists who choose not to use seat belts may want to take notice. The seat belt enforcement mobilization effort known as Click It or Ticket begins next Monday (May 21st) and will involve law enforcement officers across the country cracking down on motorists who don’t buckle up. The Arkansas State Police will join other state and local law enforcement agencies by more closely watching for seat belt violations, day and night. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) 61 percent of the 10,647 passenger vehicle occupants killed during 2010 in overnight (6PM – 5:59 AM) motor vehicle traffic crashes were not wearing seat belts, compared to 42 percent during daylight hours. Compared to Arkansas statistics during the same reporting period and hours, there’s a marked increase in the non-compliance of seat belt laws. The overnight fatality crashes during 2010 jumps to 67 percent who were not wearing seat belts compared to 53 percent during the daylight hours. “Too many motorists on the road at night are not wearing their seat belts, and all too often it ends in tragedy,” said Colonel JR Howard, Director of the Arkansas State Police and Governor’s Highway Safety Representative. “Our goal is to save more lives by reminding motorists to buckle up no matter what time of day or night.” While this year’s Click It or Ticket enforcement mobilization runs from May 21st through June 3rd, motorists should never forget law enforcement officers are enforcing seat belt laws year round. Seat belt use saves thousands of lives across America each year. NHTSA statistics show that in 2010 alone, seat belts saved an estimated 12,546 lives nationwide. Yet, too many motorists still fail to buckle up. During the calendar year 2010 there were 22,187 passenger vehicle occupants killed in motor vehicle crashes and 51 percent of them were not wearing seat belts at the time of their fatal crashes. In Arkansas 241 of the 407 motor vehicle occupants killed (59 percent) in crashes during 2010 were not properly restrained. As part of a larger effort to remind motorists to buckle up both day and night, the Arkansas State Police Highway Safety Office will partner with fast-food restaurants across the state to spread the Click It or Ticket message. Window signage and stickers on drive-thru customers’ orders will remind motorists to obey the law and buckle up. Statewide advertising will also publicize “Click It or Ticket” and relay its life-saving message. “Those who don’t wear seat belts are not only risking their lives, they are disobeying the law,” said Colonel Howard. “Arkansas law enforcement will be out around the clock looking for those who choose to ignore our warnings. We hope all our motorists will have a safe holiday and buckle up to avoid being stopped and ticketed.” For more information, log onto TrafficSafetyMarketing.gov or call the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136