Police departments in the region - including Ridgefield- have a message for motorists who refuse to wear their seat belts: beware.
Ridgefield is joining Bethel, Brookfield, Redding and Newtown police departments and highway safety advocates across the country to help save more lives by strongly enforcing seat belt laws around the clock during the 2012 Click It or Ticket campaign.
The effort kicks off today, Dec. 3, and extends through Dec. 16 to help save lives by cracking down on those who don't buckle up.
"Too many drivers and passengers on the road at night are not wearing their seat belts, and it all too often ends in tragedy," said Newtown Police Chief Michael Kehoe. "Our goal is to save more lives, so the Newtown Police Department joined by the Bethel, Brookfield, Redding and Ridgefield Police Departments will be out enforcing seat belt laws around the clock."
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2010 nationally, 61 percent of the 10,647 passenger vehicle occupants who were killed in motor vehicle crashes overnight (6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m.) were not wearing their seat belts at the time of the fatal crash, compared to 42 percent during the daytime hours.
Seat belt use saves thousands of lives across America each year. NHTSA statistics show that in 2010 alone, seat belts saved an estimated 12,546 lives nationwide.
Younger motorists and men are particularly at risk. NHTSA data shows that among teen and young adult passenger vehicle occupants in 2010, ages 18-34, which were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes, 62 percent were not buckled up at the time of the crash — the highest percentage of any age group. The number jumps to 66 percent when just men in this age group are included.
While this year's Click It or Ticket campaign runs from Dec. 3 through Dec. 16, Newtown police said motorists should know that officers in the area are out enforcing seat belt laws year-round.
"Those who choose not to wear a seat belt will feel the heat from our officers who will be out cracking down on Click It or Ticket violators," Kehoe said. "Motorists should buckle up every time they go out, both day and night. Our officers are prepared to ticket anyone not buckled up ... no warnings and no excuses. Click It or Ticket."
The above report is based on a press release from the Newtown Police Department.