WINONA LAKE — This month the Kosciusko County Traffic Safety Partnership will join law enforcement agencies across the nation to increase enforcement of seat-belt laws for the program Click It or Ticket. Multiple weeks of highly visible patrols will be watching for unrestrained passengers in cars and trucks, both children and adults, the front seat and back, both day and night.
Click It or Ticket continues through the Memorial Day holiday and the start of the summer travel season. Overtime police patrols are paid with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration funds administered by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI).
“Why are police warning everyone before the seat-belt crack-down begins? Because we respond to traffic crashes and we see the preventable deaths and painful injuries from motorists not buckling up,” said Craig Allebach, Kosciusko County Traffic Safety Partnership Grant Administrator.
Indiana law requires the driver and all passengers to buckle up. Children under age eight must be properly restrained in child car seat or booster seat.
Don’t be a statistic
The share of Hoosiers not buckling up has dropped to 6.6 percent, below the national average of 10.4 percent. But new data from ICJI and the Indiana University Public Policy Institute show that unrestrained motorists still make up 53 percent of traffic deaths.
Unrestrained motorists are more likely to die in crashes by 10 times in cars and SUVs, 14 times in pickup trucks and 15 times in vans.
“Has this message ‘clicked’ for you?” asked Craig Allebach, Grant Administrator. “If you have a friend or a family member who does not buckle up, speak up. Ask them to change their habits.”
Drivers under age 24, especially young male drivers, are the least likely to be buckled during a crash. Injury rates among unrestrained motorists are also higher:
- In rural counties,
- When a driver is speeding or impaired, and
- On weekend nights between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m.
More seat-belt statistics are in the first of several 2018 Crash Fact Sheets at www.in.gov/cji/files/Seat_Belt_Fact_Sheet2018.pdf.
Don’t buckle up just for yourself
During a crash, unrestrained passengers become projectiles that can injure or kill others in the car.
Traffic crashes are the leading killer of children ages 1 to 13, and adults set the example. Parents and caregivers who do not buckle up are more likely to have kids who are improperly restrained. That means one ticket for the driver and one for each unrestrained child.
Choose the safest car seat for your child’s height and weight at www.safercar.gov/therightseat. Find a certified car-seat safety technician to assist with installation and proper usage at www.preventinjury.org/Child-Passenger-Safety/Child-Safety-Seat-Inspection-Stations or through the SaferCar app on the App Store or Google Play.
What is the best way to reduce your chances of injury or death? Buckle up! Below are tips for proper seat-belt use:
- Secure the lap belt across your hips and pelvis, below your stomach.
- Place the shoulder belt across the middle of your chest and rib cage, away from your neck.
- Never put the shoulder belt behind your back or under an arm.
- If your seat belt doesn’t fit you, or you have an older car with lap belts only, ask your dealer or vehicle manufacturer about seat-belt adjusters, extenders or retrofits.