Beginning on Mar. 4, West Virginia law enforcement will be stepping up enforcement again with “Click it Or Ticket.” The Governor’s Highway Safety Program (GHSP) and the West Virginia Public Service Commission (PSC) are reminding all drivers and passengers to buckle your seat belt; it won’t just save you a fine, it may even save your life.
In 2014 there were 93 unbuckled West Virginians killed in roadway crashes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that if every person in these crashes had buckled their seat belt, 28 of those lives may have been saved.
The GHSP and PSC encourage all drivers to buckle their seat belts, and to ensure that all of their passengers are properly buckled or restrained in federally approved child safety seats. Nearly half of those who lost their lives in U.S. roadway crashes during 2014 were not using their seat belt at the time of the crash. For teens aged 13 to 15 and young adults aged 18 to 34, the statistics are worse, as over half of those lives lost were of vehicle occupants who were not using seat belts.
Overall, West Virginia’s seat belt usage rate has gradually increased more than eight percent in the last 5 years, from 82.15 percent in 2010 to 89 percent in 2015. In West Virginia, violation of the seatbelt law is a primary offense and carries a fine of $25. Violation of the child passenger safety seat law carries a fine between $10 and $20.
With funding provided by the GHSP, law enforcement agencies are able to conduct these focused patrols on seat belt and child safety seat violations and encourage citizens to drive safe. For more information on the GHSP, visit www.dmv.wv.gov/ghsp or call 304-926-2509.