Volusia County – The Thanksgiving holiday period is one of the busiest travel times of the year, and the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office wants to remind all travelers, whether they’re traveling across the country or just across town, that one of the best ways to ensure a safe arrival is to buckle up, every trip, every time. Volusia deputies and other local law enforcement agencies are actively participating in the national “Click It or Ticket” campaign starting this week through Nov. 25 to crack down on drivers who don’t wear seat belts.
“During the long Thanksgiving travel weekend, many more people than usual are on the roads visiting family and friends,” said Sgt. Jim Whittet, supervisor of the Sheriff’s Office’s countywide motors unit. “And we want to alert everyone that perhaps the single best thing they can do to save lives and protect themselves and their passengers on our roadways is to insist on the regular and proper use of their seat belts.”
Florida law requires all drivers and passengers in the front seat of a vehicle to fasten their safety belts. Passengers under the age of 18, regardless of where they sit in a vehicle, also must buckle up. Failure to buckle up is a primary offense, which means deputies can pull you over for not wearing a seat belt and cite you for a non-moving violation. Deputies want to make sure young adults especially get the message. In Florida during 2010, 64 percent of the 21 to 24 year olds killed in traffic crashes were not buckled up — the highest percentage of all age groups.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seat belts saved more than 12,500 lives nationwide during 2010 alone. In fact, research shows that the risk of fatal injury to front seat passenger car occupants is reduced by 45 percent, and the risk of moderate to serious injury is reduced by 50 percent, when seat beats are worn correctly.
Yet, too many people are still not getting the message. Fifty-one percent of the 22,187 passenger vehicle occupants who were killed in motor vehicle crashes during 2010 were not wearing seat belts at the time of their fatal crashes.
Unfortunately, the overnight hours prove to be the most dangerous on our nation’s roadways, not only during the Thanksgiving holiday, but throughout the year. Nationally in 2010, 61 percent of the 10,647 passenger vehicle occupants who were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes during the overnight hours (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.
During the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, 64 percent of nighttime fatalities involved unbelted passenger vehicle occupants, while only 41 percent of daytime fatalities involved unbelted passenger vehicle occupants.
“Throughout the year, but especially during busy travel times like the Thanksgiving holiday, we will be cracking down on those who don’t buckle up, to help save lives and prevent injuries,” said Sheriff Ben Johnson. “Please remember to always wear your seat belt so you can spend the holidays celebrating with your loved ones and not worrying about the cost of a ticket.”