The Polk County Sheriff’s Office joins hundreds of other law enforcement agencies across Florida in renewing a pledge to save lives by intensifying efforts to enforce seat belt laws during the national Click It or Ticket campaign, which runs from March 1 – March 15, 2010.
According to 2008 data from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, 2,983 individuals were killed in motor vehicle related crashes. Of these traffic deaths, 1,795 individuals were either drivers or passengers in safety belt equipped vehicles. Sixty percent (1,085) of these people killed were not wearing a safety belt.
In addition in 2008, sixty-eight percent (54 of 79) of the children ages 0 to 17 years old killed in traffic crashes were not using safety equipment.
“With 30 percent of traffic fatalities due to Floridians failing to buckle up regularly, it’s clear that far too many people still don’t take the safety belt law seriously,” said Sheriff Grady Judd. “The unbuckled rate is especially high — and the fatal crash rate increases significantly at night. So look for deputies to be out on the streets both day and night in March making sure that everyone is buckled up.”
Research has shown that lap/shoulder belts, when used properly; reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants by 45 percent and the risk of moderate to critical injury by 50 percent. For light-truck occupants, safety belts reduce the risk of fatal injury by 60 percent and moderate-to-critical injury by 65 percent.
Safety belts are 80-percent effective in reducing fatalities in light trucks (including sport utility vehicles) during rollover crashes. They also help prevent individuals from being totally ejected during a crash, thus reducing the risk of a fatal injury.
“Regular seat belt use is the single most effective way to protect people and reduce motor vehicle crash fatalities. High-visibility enforcement is effective at getting people to buckle up,” said Sheriff Grady Judd. “Wearing your seat belt is easy and it costs you nothing. Not wearing it might cost you a ticket, or worse — your life. I urge everyone in Polk County to please be safe and buckle up day and night — Click It or Ticket.”
To learn more about the Click It or Ticket campaign and the lifesaving benefits of wearing your seat belt, please visit www.nhtsa.gov.