“We would like you to remember to buckle up…every seat, every trip, every time...Day and Night,” members of the Sonoraville High SADD chapter said.
The latest highway safety figures were announced in time for the start of the “Click It or Ticket” safetybelt enforcement campaign that began Nov. 15 and runs through the Thanksgiving holiday travel period ending Nov. 28. More than 500 local law enforcement agencies statewide and the Georgia State Patrol (GSP) will be participating in the November 2010 “Click It or Ticket” mobilization.
“Regular seat belt use is the single most effective way to protect motorists and reduce fatalities in vehicle crashes,” said Bob Dallas, Director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS). “There were 213 fewer lives lost in highway crashes here in 2009 than during the previous year (2008).
“However, we must continue to remind drivers and passengers about the importance of safety belt use, because hundreds of other Georgians will not be gathering with their families during the holidays this year due to their choice not to use their seat belts,” Dallas said.
More than half the Georgians killed in car crashes in 2008 were not wearing safety belts. Yet seat belts reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat occupants in passenger cars by 45-percent, and by 60-percent in pickup trucks, SUVs, and minivans.
This holiday travel period, police will use concentrated patrols and safety belt road checks to continue to push aggressively for seat belt compliance for the ten-percent of Georgians who do not buckle-up. As in a growing number of states, Georgia’s primary safety belt law authorizes traffic enforcement officers to write seat belt tickets whenever they observe drivers or passengers who are unbelted. A new Georgia law now requires pickup truck occupants to buckle-up too.
“Georgia’s high-profile seatbelt patrols and road checks are having a measurable effect on safety belt use,” said Dallas. “Taking two seconds to buckle-up can save your life or the life of a loved one. It’s still your best defense against a crash with a drunk driver this holiday.”
During last year’s 102-hour Thanksgiving travel period the Georgia State Patrol reported 3,089 crashes, 730 injuries and 12 fatalities.
“Seat belts are about lives saved and family tragedies prevented. Officers are saving the lives of fellow Georgians every time they cite drivers for unbuckled seatbelts or child safety seats,” said Dallas. “If we can all help prevent or reduce the heartbreaking calls and visits made by police to the families of crash victims this Thanksgiving, we will make a real difference in the future of our communities.”
For more information on the Georgia Click It Or Ticket enforcement campaign and other lifesaving highway safety initiatives, visit www.gahighwaysafety,org .