As the unofficial start of summer, the Memorial Day holiday weekend is a busy time for Californians. Each year, the highways fill with families in vehicles, on their way to start their summer vacations. To help keep drivers and passengers safe, Modesto Police Department is reminding motorists to Click It or Ticket. The national seat belt campaign will take place May 21 through June 3, concurrent with the busy travel season.
Modesto Police Department will deploy additional officers during the two-week campaign on special traffic patrols specifically to stop and ticket both drivers and passengers for failing to use the vehicle’s safety belt restraints. This will also include drivers who fail to secure children in the proper child restraint seats.
“Buckling up is such a simple task that can keep you and your family safe in the car,” said Chief Carroll, Modesto Police Department. “But it’s more than that. Buckling up is the law. Our law enforcement personnel see the consequences of not buckling up. We see the loss of life and injuries at the scene of a crash. Often, deaths could have been prevented and injuries reduced with the simple click of a seat belt. This should be automatic.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly half (48%) of the passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in 2016 were unrestrained. At night from 6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m., that number soared to 56 percent of those killed. That’s why one focus of the Click It or Ticket campaign is nighttime enforcement. Police, Sheriff and the CHP will be taking a no-excuses approach to seat belt law enforcement, writing citations day and night. In California, the minimum penalty for a seat belt violation is $162.
“This Memorial Day period and, in fact, every day, we want everyone in every vehicle to remember that buckling up could be their greatest defense in a crash,” said Rhonda Craft, Director of the California Office of Traffic Safety. “Putting on a seat belt is one of the quickest, simplest and most effective ways to ensure you and your loved ones remain safe and sound on the road.”
In 2016, One Modesto community member was killed because they did not buckle their seat belts. Across Stanislaus County, 16 died unrestrained as either a driver or passenger. Statewide, 426 individuals were found to be unrestrained at the time of the collision. It is estimated that 74 would have survived had they simply buckled up.
“If you know a friend or a family member who does not buckle up when they drive, please ask them to consider changing their habits,” said Chief Carroll. “Help us spread this life-saving message before one more friend or family member is killed as a result of this senseless inaction. Seat belts save lives, and everyone—child and adult—needs to remember to buckle up—every trip, every time.”
This enforcement effort is funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and remember - Report Drunk Drivers - call 911.