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Special Enforcement Effort Planned During Week

By Staff | May 19, 2009

The message is simple – Buckling Down on those not buckled up – Day and Night.

The Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office will be joining with law enforcement agencies across the United States from May 18 through May 31 for the National “Click It or Ticket” campaign to get drivers to use their safety belts. The campaign against non-belted drivers and occupants will be ongoing in both the daytime and nighttime hours.

The motivation behind the campaign is painfully simple – over 14.000 people lost their lives in vehicle crashes while not wearing seat belts in 2007. Authorities say over half of those victims would have survived had they been wearing seat belts during the crashes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says statistics become even more enlightening.

In 2007, 14.464 vehicle occupants died in highway crashes during evening and nighttime hours, between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. A full 63 percent of those fatalities were not wearing seat belts. On the other side of the coin, during the daytime hours, 45 percent of the fatalities, or 5,912 persons, were not wearing seat belts.

Iowa saw 412 fatalities in 2008, and of that number, 139 people were not wearing seat belts in the crashes. An even 50 percent of the crashes that resulted in fatalities occurred during the evening and nighttime hours, when only 12 percent of the motoring public is actually out on the roads.

“Those numbers are staggering,” noted Palo Alto County Sheriff Dennis Goeders. “The data shows us that there are more high-risk drivers out at night, and these drivers are far more likely to speed, drink and not wear their seat belts.”

“Regular seat belt use is the single most effective way to protect people and reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes,” noted Eugene T. Meyer, Commissioner of the Iowa Department of Public Safety. “Wearing your seat belt costs you nothing, but not wearing it could cost you your life. So, unless you want to risk a ticket or worse, please remember to buckle up night and day. Don’t forget, Click it or Ticket isn’t just a campaign slogan, it’s a promise.”