SOMERSET — Interim Chief Todd Costa and the Somerset Police Department would like to announce that they will be taking part in the National Click It or Ticket High Visibility Enforcement Campaign later this month.
The department was awarded a grant from the Massachusetts Executive Office Public Safety and Security’s Office of Grants and Research (OGR) to take part in the campaign and increase awareness about seat belt safety among drivers.
As part of the campaign, which will run May 24 to June 6, state and local law enforcement agencies across the nation will be stepping up their enforcement efforts for motorists who aren’t wearing their seat belts.
According to OGR, Massachusetts ranked 45th in seat belt usage rate at 81.6% in 2019, over nine percentage points below the national average of 90.7%. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seat belts saved an estimated 61 lives in the Commonwealth in 2018.
“Wearing a seat belt minimizes the risk of injury in crashes, yet some people still choose not to wear them,” said Interim Chief Costa. “The goal of Click It or Ticket is to keep drivers and passengers safe by encouraging them to put their seat belts on when getting on the road.”
The Somerset Police Department also wishes to share some facts and common misconceptions about seat belt safety courtesy the NHTSA:
- Among young adults 18 to 34 killed while riding in passenger vehicles in 2019, more than half (57%) were completely unrestrained — one of the highest percentages for all age groups.
- Men make up the majority of those killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes. In 2019, 65% of the 22,215 passenger vehicle occupants who were killed were men. 51% of men killed in crashes were unrestrained, compared to 40% of women killed in crashes.
- There seems to be a misconception among those who drive and ride in pickup trucks that their larger vehicles will protect them better than other vehicle types would in a crash. The numbers say otherwise: 58% of pickup truck occupants who were killed in 2019 were not buckled. That’s compared to 43% of passenger car occupants who were not wearing seat belts when they were killed. Regardless of vehicle type, seat belt use is the single most effective way to stay alive in a crash.
- Too many people wrongly believe they are safe in the back seat unrestrained. 45% of all front-seat passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in 2019 were unrestrained, but 58% of those killed in back seats were unrestrained.
- People who live in rural areas might believe their crash exposure is lower, but in 2019, there were 11,971 passenger vehicle fatalities in rural locations compared to 10,187 fatalities in urban locations. Out of those fatalities, 48% of those killed in the rural locations were not wearing their seat belts, compared to 45% in urban locations.
- High-visibility seat belt enforcement is important 24 hours a day, but nighttime is especially deadly for unbuckled occupants. In 2019, 55% of passenger vehicle occupants killed at night (6 p.m.–5:59 a.m.) were not wearing their seat belts.
To learn more about Click It or Ticket, click here.