CHARLESTON, WV – The West Virginia Governor’s Highway Safety Program (GHSP) is coordinating a statewide Click It or Ticket high-visibility enforcement mobilization that runs from March 3-19, 2023. This mobilization is part of the GHSP’s year-long efforts to increase seat belt usage in West Virginia and is part of a statewide ramp-up effort ahead of the annual national Click It or Ticket mobilization in May.
“We want every person – front seat and back, drivers, passengers, or a child in a car seat – to be properly restrained, every time they travel in a vehicle,” said Gov. Jim Justice.
In 2020, 47 percent of all passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in West Virginia were unrestrained. To help save lives, we need to step up seat belt enforcement, day and night.
“Our seat belt usage increased to 92.5 percent in 2022. While we are pleased with this increase, we will keep working until every person in every vehicle is correctly buckled up. A seat belt is your best protection against death or injury should you be in a vehicle crash,” said Bob Tipton, GHSP Director.
People who live in rural areas might believe that their crash exposure is lower, but in 2020, 64 percent of total vehicle fatalities in West Virginia occurred in rural locations, compared to 36 percent in urban locations.
Law enforcement officers across West Virginia will be out in full force, ticketing violators who are caught traveling without a correctly buckled seat belt or transporting unrestrained children. This statewide seat belt campaign is aimed at enforcing seat belt use to help keep all vehicle occupants safe.
“At our current seat belt usage rate, unrestrained drivers or passengers have a 20.10 times higher likelihood of being killed if they are in a crash. The reality is: seat belts save lives. Click It or Ticket isn’t about citations; it’s about saving lives. Not buckling up is not worth the risk,” concluded Tipton.
Wearing your seat belt is required by law. Don’t just buckle up to avoid a ticket. The values of our families’ and friends’ lives in West Virginia are priceless – infinitely higher in value than the $25 violators pay if ticketed. If you are caught driving while unbuckled and you get a ticket, look at it as your wakeup call. A ticket is far less expensive than paying with your life or the lives of your family and friends.