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May 12, 2010 (LITTLE ROCK) – Don’t forget to buckle up, day and night. The Arkansas State Police Highway Safety Office announced today that the Click It or Ticket campaign will return to play a critical role in the effort to keep people safe on our roads and highways during the Memorial Day holiday period. Over one hundred state and local law enforcement agencies will be working overtime May 24TH through June 6TH looking for seat belt law violators as part of the annual nationwide campaign. Arkansas law was amended last year making a violation of the state’s seat belt law a primary offense and allowing law enforcement officers to initiate traffic stops if the driver or their passengers are not properly restrained. This is the first major Click It or Ticket initiative since the passage of Arkansas’ Primary Seat Belt Law. “The initiative has one very simple objective – increase the use of safety belts among the public traveling on local roads and state highways,” said Colonel Winford E. Phillips, Director of the Arkansas State Police and Governor’s Highway Safety Representative. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) there were 12,671 vehicle occupant deaths during 2008 resulting from motor vehicle crashes nationwide between the nighttime hours of 6 p.m. and 5:59 AM. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of those who died were not wearing safety restraints at the time of the crashes. This compares to less than half of the passenger vehicle occupants (45%) killed during the daytime hours of 6 a.m. to 5:59 PM. In Arkansas 78 % of those who died at night were unbelted, compared to 67% of those who died during the day. These statistics reinforce the necessity to remind the public during the enforcement campaign to buckle up, day and night. A substantial amount of the overtime effort among law enforcement officers will be devoted to nighttime enforcement. One out of every four motorists in Arkansas still fails to buckle up. The state’s official seat belt use rate in 2009 was only 74 percent, well below the national average of 83 percent during the most recent 2008 national statistical reporting period. If Arkansans increased their use of safety belts to 83 percent, it would prevent 32 fatalities, 340 serious injuries and $73 million in economic costs annually, according to calculations from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “I urge every Arkansan to remind their family and friends who still don’t wear safety belts to Click It, Day and Night, or expect a Ticket,” Colonel Phillips said. In an effort to alert the public of the increased enforcement initiative and the opportunity to save lives, the campaign will include a public education element carried-out through statewide advertising. In addition, the Arkansas Highway Safety Office and fast-food restaurants are partnering to deliver safety messages to motorists at drive-through windows across the state. “Getting more Arkansans to wear their seat belts is one of the simplest and most effective ways we can reduce unintentional death and injury on our roadways,” said Dr. Mary Aitken, Director of the Injury Prevention Center at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. “The Click It or Ticket campaign encourages Arkansans to obey the law for their own health and safety. When worn correctly, safety belts have proven to reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants by 45 percent and by as much as 60 percent in pickup trucks, SUVs and minivans.” The Click It or Ticket (CIOT) campaign is a short-duration, high-visibility enforcement of seat belt laws. Nationwide CIOT mobilizations have occurred every May since 2003. According to NHTSA, the annual mobilizations have raised seat belt use rates more substantially and more quickly than any other program. Over time, tens of millions of motorists have been exposed to CIOT, perception of seat belt enforcement has changed, and belt usage has improved. The mobilization focuses advertisements primarily on males 18 to 34 years old with an additional emphasis on teenage occupants and occupants traveling at night. For more information, log onto the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website at nhtsa.dot.gov or call the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136. -30- For more information about Click It or Ticket activities in local communities, the following contacts are available for questions or interviews: • Lt. Art Kaufman, Jacksonville Police Department, (501) 982-3191 • Captain Hunter Petray, Benton County Sheriff’s Office, (479) 464-6184 • Lt Mike Smith, Bentonville Police Department, (479) 271-3180 • Assistant Chief Marvin Crawford, Blytheville Police Department, (870) 762-0444 • Captain Scott Roper, Jonesboro Police Department, (870) 933-4614 • Chief Deputy Dean White, Lonoke County Sheriff’s Office, (501) 676-3003 • Sgt. Bobby Morgan, Marion Police Department, (870) 739-2101 • Captain Jeff Creecy, Osceola Police Department, (870) 563-5213 • Captain Phillip Faulkner, Paragould Police Department, (870) 239-7561 • Lt. Curtis Woods, Benton Police Department, (501) 776-5978 • Lt. J. W. Plouch, Bryant Police Department, (501) 847-0211 x104 • Officer Robert Henninger, Camden Police Department, (870) 836-5755 • Officer Willie Newman, Fayetteville Police Department, (479) 587-3579 • Captain Joe Gilliam, Harrison Police Department, (870) 741-5463 • Deena Rothwell, Hope Police Department, (870) 777-3434 • Officer Scotty Bryant, Maumelle Police Department, (501) 851-1337 • Lt. Cody Burk, Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office, (501) 340-6760 • Lt. Jerry Morrison, Saline County Sheriff’s Office, (501) 303-5603 • Captain Ron Hritz, Springdale Police Department, (479) 756-8200 • Officer Jacob Moss, University of Central Arkansas Police Department, (501) 450-3111 • Captain Tony Kaman, Van Buren Police Department, (479) 471-5077 • Captain Dallas McClellan, Washington County Sherriff’s Department , (479) 530-5105 • Sgt. Ben Lackey, Conway Police Department, (501) 450-6199 • Captain Larry Rogers, Dardanelle Police Department, (479) 229-2533 • Lt. Mike Wilkins, Faulkner County Sheriff’s Department, (501) 450-4917 • Corporal Mac Means, Fort Smith Police Department, (479) 709-5017 • Sgt. Tom Winton, Hot Springs Police Department, (501) 321-6787 • Sgt. Bryan Corbett, Mountain Home Police Department, (870) 367-3411 • Lt. Jerry Smith, North Little Rock Police Department, (501) 771-7171 • Sgt. Todd Harness, Texarkana Police Department, (903) 798-3130 • Captain Thomas Dill, West Memphis Police Department, (870) 735-1210 • Mr. Jim Foster, Little Rock Police Department, (501) 244-5470 • Lt. Cheryl Williams, Sherwood Police Department, (501) 835-1425