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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Buckle Up New York – Click It or Ticket

Each year, just in time for the influx of motorists traveling for Memorial Day Weekend more than 500 police agencies around New York State come to together to remind New York drivers to "Click It or Ticket". The annual, Buckle Up New York campaign begins Monday May, 24 reminding all New Yorkers to buckle up every time they get behind the wheel. The campaign runs for approximately two weeks and ends on Sunday, June 6. There will be safety restraint checkpoints set up throughout the state helping to enforce New York’s mandatory safety restraint law.

Safety restraint citations will be issued to those motorists caught without their seat belts on during these checkpoints. However, it’s important to remember that wearing a seat belt is not about avoiding a citation. Wearing a seat belt is about saving a life. This goal of this initiative is help put an end to the fatalities that could have been prevented if people would have taken the two or three seconds to fasten their seatbelts when they got into their vehicles.

In 1984, New York State became the first state to enact a mandatory safety restraint law. The law helped improve seat belt use statewide. Only 12 percent of people used their seat belts in 1984. By, 1998 74 percent of people used them. Although that may seem like a huge increase, most of it occurred in the 1980’s. By the late 1990’s the growth of seat belt use had become stagnate. Law enforcement officials needed a way to combat the number one cause of death on New York’s highways.

In May, 1999 just in time for the Memorial Day Holiday Weekend, New York State Police kicked off a campaign called “Buckle up New York” designed to increase the use of safety restraints to 85 percent by the end of the year 2000. Currently, New York has a seatbelt compliance rate of about 89 percent, which is above the national average of 83 percent. With the exception of New York City, the state boasts a compliance rate of over 90 percent.

During the 2009 Memorial Day Weekend Buckle up New York initiative 22,059 safety restraint citations were issued at over 137 checkpoints through the state. The New York State Police investigated 15 fatal crashes during the same time period. After the investigations, it was concluded that eight of those fatalities could have been avoided if they had been wearing their seatbelts.

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