Spring will soon be here and when temperatures go up, more drivers are on the roads. The West Virginia Governor’s Highway Safety Program (GHSP) is reminding all drivers of the importance of seat belt use. The GHSP is coordinating a statewide Click It or Ticket high-visibility enforcement mobilization that runs from March 4-20, 2022.
West Virginia law enforcement officers will be out in full force, ticketing seat belt violators who are caught traveling without a correctly buckled seat belt or transporting unrestrained children. This statewide seat belt campaign is aimed at enforcing seat belt use to help keep all vehicle occupants safe and is running in preparation of the national Click It or Ticket high-visibility enforcement mobilization in May, prior to the beginning of a summer travel season that is expected to be busier than recent years.
“We want every person in a vehicle – whether it’s the driver, a passenger, or a child in a car seat – to be correctly restrained, every trip, every time,” said Governor Jim Justice.
In 2020, 47 percent of all passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in West Virginia were unrestrained. To help save lives, we need to step up seat belt enforcement, day and night.
People who live in rural areas might believe that their crash exposure is lower, but in 2020, 64 percent of total vehicle fatalities in West Virginia occurred in rural locations, compared to 36 percent in urban locations.
“Our seat belt usage rate went down in 2021. Roadway fatalities went up last year. We are going in the wrong direction and need to correct course so that no one else dies on West Virginia roads,” said Bob Tipton, GHSP Director.
“We have about 12 percent of West Virginia drivers and passengers who still aren’t buckling their seat belts. We are working to change that. Our long-term goal is to have 100% of drivers in West Virginia correctly buckling their seat belts every time they travel in a vehicle. This change starts with statewide enforcement periods like this one,” Tipton continued.
Wearing your seat belt is not just a good idea; it is required by law. Day and night, front seat and back, every trip, every time: Click It or Ticket. Don’t just buckle up to avoid a ticket. The values of our families’ and friends’ lives in West Virginia are priceless—and much higher in value than the money violators pay if ticketed. If you are caught driving while unbuckled and you get a ticket, look at it as your wakeup call. A ticket is less expensive than paying with your life or the lives of your family and friends.
“Click It or Ticket isn’t about citations; it’s about saving lives. Buckle up for yourself, your family, and your friends,” concluded Tipton.
For more information about the West Virginia Governor’s Highway Safety Program, visit www.dmv.wv.gov/ghsp or call 304-926-2509.