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November 17, 2010 (LITTLE ROCK) – Across the nation the approaching Thanksgiving holiday means increased traffic on state roads and U.S. highways. In Arkansas state and local law enforcement agencies will be working extra-duty patrols throughout the holiday period to ensure holiday travelers remain safe. The initiative is part of the Click It or Ticket campaign and the objective to increase seat belt use by reminding motorists to buckle-up, every trip, day and night. “The importance of buckling up every time you get into a vehicle cannot be stressed often enough,” said Colonel Winford E. Phillips, Director of the Arkansas State Police. “Nighttime driving can be more dangerous because of reduced visibility and the possibility of impaired drivers being on the road.” Colonel Phillips said. Law enforcement agencies across the state will conduct increased traffic safety enforcement activities as part of the week long Thanksgiving mobilization, which begins November 22nd. “Highly visible patrols promote compliance with traffic laws and support officers’ efforts to prevent deaths and injuries,” said Phillips. During the 2009 Thanksgiving holiday travel period in Arkansas, five people lost their lives and 135 were seriously injured as the result of traffic crashes. “Sadly, a holiday, which for many is the happiest time of the year, can be one of the deadliest and most tragic,” said Colonel Phillips. “Use of safety restraints is one of the simplest and most important actions a driver or passenger can take and the life-saving benefits of seat belts and child safety restraints are indisputable; there’s no good excuse not to buckle up.” According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), during 2008 on U.S. roadways, nearly 13,000 unbuckled passenger vehicle occupants (drivers and passengers) became highway crash fatality victims. It’s estimated that nearly one third of these lives could have been saved if they had been properly belted. NHTSA statistics also show that those least likely to buckle up are teens, young adult males, nighttime riders, motorists traveling on rural roads and individuals traveling in pickup trucks. Regular seat belt use is the single most effective way to protect people and reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes, according to NHTSA. Research has shown that when lap and shoulder belts are used properly, the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants is reduced by 45 percent, and the risk of moderate to serious injury is reduced by 50 percent. For more information about the Thanksgiving Click It or Ticket campaign for highway safety, visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov or call the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136.