Seat belt enforcement campaign starts Monday

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Maine law enforcement will start a two week campaign Monday to beef up enforcement of Maine’s seat belt laws.  In addition,  special enforcement efforts are planned Monday afternoon and evening in Maine and New Hampshire as the two states coordinate their enforcement activities.  The two week campaign is called Click It or Ticket  and the Monday effort is called Border to Border.

“As we kick-off the busy summer driving season, it is critical that everyone buckles up, day and night – no excuses,” said Colonel Robert Williams, Chief of the Maine State Police. “Troopers are prepared to ticket anyone who is not wearing their seat belt, including drivers who have neglected to buckle their children.

The Maine Bureau of Highway Safety has provided $313,403 to 45 Maine police agencies to pay for overtime to participate in the two week effort. “Seat belts save dozens of Maine lives every year, but some motorists are still not buckling up, especially at night when the risk of getting in a crash is greater,” said Lauren Stewart, Director of the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety. “ Buckling up is not optional; it’s the difference between life and death in a crash.  That’s why law enforcement is out there enforcing the law.”

Stewart said although seat belts usage in Maine is very high, the numbers from fatal crashes during the past year is another story — 42% of those killed during the day were unbelted and 65% during nighttime fatal crashes.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 9,874 passenger vehicle occupants killed in 2015 were not wearing their seat belts.

The  Click It or Ticket enforcement mobilization runs from May 22 to June 4.