It takes two seconds to do, and it could save your life.
That’s the message from California Highway Patrol and safety officials this week during the annual “Click It or Ticket” campaign, which kicked off May 19 and runs through June 1. Simply buckling your seat belt in your vehicle could potentially save your life in the case of an auto accident, or save you a fine.
Law enforcement throughout California will be looking for drivers and passengers who don’t buckle up. All day, officers will be on the lookout for drivers and passengers — including passengers in the back seat.
The campaign debuted in California in 2005, and since then the state’s seat belt use rate has increased. to a record 96.6 percent in 2011. Since 2008, wearing a seat belt has saved more than 60,000 lives, according to state safety officials. And the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that 12,174 lives were saved in 2012 by the use of seat belts.
The annual two-week campaign has resulted in more than 3 million ticket citations in the last five years, according to the NHTSA. The campaign targets young men 18 to 34 years old, who represent two-thirds of the nation’s unrestrained occupants.
In past years in Bakersfield, CHP officers have handed out hundreds of citations during campaigns, according to KERO-12 (ABC).
The Bakersfield car accident attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Stiles have the same message as law enforcement officials — don’t put your own life at risk, or the life of your family or friends. Buckle up.
The message is important to keep in mind, especially during the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, which kicks off the summer driving season.
Here are some California seat belt facts and figures to consider, courtesy of California Highway Patrol:
• The cost for a seat belt violation in California for unbuckled vehicle occupants over age 16 is a minimum of $161, and higher in some counties. (California Department of Motor Vehicles)
• When children under age 6 are not properly secured in a vehicle, parents or drivers can receive “one point” on their driving record, in addition to a ticket of $490 on a first offense. If the parent is not in the car, the driver gets the ticket (DMV).
• In fatal crashes during 2011, 77 percent of passenger vehicle occupants who were thrown from their vehicles were killed. However, only 1 percent of crash victims who were buckled up were totally ejected from their vehicles, compared to 31 percent of those who were unbelted.
• Motorists are 75 percent less likely to be killed in a rollover crash if they are buckled up.
• In 2011, of the 21,253 passenger vehicle occupants who were killed in motor vehicle crashes nationwide, 52 percent were not wearing seat belts at the time of their fatal crashes.