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March 10, 2014

Ann Whitehead - State Police Highway Safety Office
(501) 618-8133    ann.whitehead@asp.arkansas.gov

(LITTLE ROCK) – State, county and city law enforcement agencies kick off a two-week campaign today warning young people that they risk getting a ticket if they don’t fasten their safety belts.

Law enforcement officers across the state will be stepping up their enforcement of safety belt laws as part of the Click It or Ticket campaign.  The goal is not to write tickets, but to get everyone buckled up, especially teen drivers and their passengers.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens.  During the calendar year 2012 records indicate that 73 percent of young people ages 16-20 who died in traffic crashes in Arkansas were not buckled-up.   

“Teens and young adults are killed at far higher rates than older adults in crashes because they are caught in a lethal combination of inexperience, risk taking and low safety belt use,” said Colonel Stan Witt, Director of the Arkansas State Police and the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative.

Research shows that teens are not as concerned about injury or death as much as they fear getting a ticket.  “We want to reach those least likely to wear seat belts and most at risk to die in traffic crashes with this message:  If you don’t buckle up to save your life, then buckle up to save yourself a ticket,” said Colonel Witt.

While national seat belt use stands at 84 percent, Arkansas’ seat belt use rate is only 77 percent.  Further statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicate that safety belt use for teens and young adults continues to lag behind the rest of the population.

Arkansas law requires:

* Seat belt use for drivers and front seat passengers.
* Everyone to be buckled up if a driver has a learners or intermediate license.
* All children under fifteen years of age to be properly restrained.
* Children younger than six years of age and weighing less than sixty pounds to be properly restrained in approved child safety seats.

For more information on teen driving safety visit SaferTeenDrivingAR.org or for Click It or Ticket, contact the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136.