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May 12, 2016

  (LITTLE ROCK) – Law enforcement agencies across Arkansas are once again preparing to step-up enforcement of the primary seat belt law.  The “Click It or Ticket” enforcement operating plan covers a three week period beginning May 16th and continues through one of the most active travel periods for Arkansas motorists.

  “Too often drivers and passengers who do not buckle-up lose their lives,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police and the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative.  “As we approach the Memorial Day weekend and the summer vacation season, we want to make sure people are doing the one simple thing that can save them in a crash - buckle up.”     

  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly half of the 21,022 passenger vehicle occupants killed in motor vehicle crashes during 2014 were not using a seat belt.  The facts related to the deaths are the stimulus for increased enforcement and awareness of proper seat belt use.

  Time and again, law enforcement officers hear from the families of crash victims.  The recurring message is, “I wish they had buckled up.”

  “The message is simple,” says Colonel Bryant.  “Seat belts save lives and if these enforcement crackdowns get the attention of people, causing them to buckle up, then we’ve done our job.  After all, it is the law”

  Arkansas state law requires all front seat passengers, not just drivers, to be properly buckled up.  It requires all children less than fifteen years of age to be properly secured in the vehicle.  A child less than six years of age and weighing less than sixty pounds should be restrained in a child passenger safety seat.  If the driver has a restricted license, all passengers in the vehicle must be properly buckled up.

  It’s not just important to wear your seat belt, but to also wear it properly.  A shoulder harness is worn across the shoulder and chest with minimal, if any slack.  The shoulder harness should not be worn under the arm or behind the back.  Wearing the harness the wrong way could cause serious internal injuries in a crash.

  More information about "Click it or Ticket" and how seat belts save lives can be found at www.TrafficSafetyMarketing.gov/ciot or contact the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136.  Information about Arkansas' ongoing project "Toward Zero" campaign, can be found at www.TZDarkansas.org