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Oklahoma Highway Safety Office getting set for 2018 "Click It or Ticket" campaign

The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office is partnering with St. John Health System, law enforcement, AAA Oklahoma and other local groups for the 2018 "Click It or Ticket" campaign to highlight the dangers of not wearing a seat belt. (Photo Courtesy: Oklahoma Highway Safety Office)

The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office is partnering with St. John Health System, law enforcement, AAA Oklahoma and other local groups for the 2018 "Click It or Ticket" campaign to highlight the dangers of not wearing a seat belt.

According to OHSO, the highly visible seat belt enforcement period begins on May 21 and last until June 3, covering the busy Memorial Day holiday weekend. In 2016, 47.5 percent of all vehicle fatalities victims in Oklahoma were not wearing seat belts or child restraint devices. Among the almost 34,000 people injured in crashes that same year, 2,500 were not restrained.

“In 2016, we lost 224 Oklahomans because they weren't buckled up,” said Cody McDonell, communications manager for the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office. "To us, that's 224 too many. Something as simple as clicking your seat belt can save your life."

During last year's campaign, nearly 300 agencies participated, resulting in 8,057 seat belt violations and 244 child passenger restraint violations.

“Past ‘Click It or Ticket’ campaigns have shown how helpful it can be to our overall goal of spreading the message about the importance of buckling up,” said Director Paul Harris of the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office.

“Wearing a seat belt is the number one thing anyone can do to help prevent death or injury during a vehicle crash,” said Harris.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 56 percent of vehicle occupants nationwide who were killed between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. were not wearing their seat belts, which is why the focus of this year's "Click It or Ticket" Oklahoma campaign is nighttime enforcement. The week of the campaign, participating law enforcement agencies will be taking a no-excuses approach to seat belt enforcement, writing citations day and night.

“Our goal isn’t to write citations, but we do know tickets talk,” said Lieutenant Joe Williams with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. “The ‘Click It or Ticket’ program gives us a chance to get out there on the roads and really focus on drivers and passengers who aren’t 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 Lt. Williams. “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—front seat and back, child and adult—needs to remember to buckle up — every trip, every time.”

Pickup trucks are not safer to ride with a seat belt, despite a common misconception. Sixty-one percent of pickup occupants killed in wrecks in 2016 nationwide were not buckled up. In comparison, 42 percent of passenger car occupants that were not buckled up were killed.

For more information on the “Click It or Ticket” campaign, please visit www.ohso.ok.gov/clickit.

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