Motor vehicle crashes remain a leading cause of death in America — and the leading cause of death for young people ages 2 to 34. However, crashes are non-discriminatory: men, women, the young, the old — regardless of race or ethnicity — are all at risk. But too many times the drivers and passengers who die have chosen NOT to wear their seat belts, even though regular seat belt use is the single most effective way to protect people and reduce fatalities.
That is why the Lakeland Police Department has joined with other State and local law enforcement and highway safety officials to announce support for the 2008 national Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement mobilization, which runs from May 19 – June 1. During the mobilization, officers will focus on enforcing seat belt laws around the clock in order to save lives.
We encouraged motorists to always wear their seat belts, no matter the time of day or the length of their trip. One must not take the chance and think that “it will never happen to me.” Because the truth is, it does happen every single day. And the risk of being involved in a potentially fatal crash at night is even greater.
Nighttime hours (6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m.) alone claim over 15,000 of our mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers across this country each year. In 2006, nearly two-thirds (64%) of those killed at night were NOT wearing their seat belts, compared to less than half (46%) of the passenger vehicle occupants killed during daytime hours.
While seat belts have been proven to save lives, too many people still need a tough reminder to buckle up. Our officers are all too aware of the risks and will be out in full force buckling down on those who fail to buckle up. Wearing your seat belt costs you nothing, but the costs of NOT wearing one may be a ticket, or worse — your life. So please remember to always buckle up, both day and night. Don’t become a statistic: Click It or Ticket!
- Asst Chief Bill LePere