Law enforcement agencies across the Tri-State are going to be looking a little closer at travelers in the coming weeks as the annual “Click it or Ticket” campaign kicks off.
The message to wear seat belts is something that Carol Lucio, Ohio’s coordinator for Students Against Destructive Decisions, said needs to get out loud and clear, especially to teenagers.
"We find that a lot of young people feel like that it's not going to happen to them or they are invincible," Lucio said. "So that's why we reinforce seat belts over and over again."
Lucio said seat belts are the number one life-saving feature in cars. His organization, which started as Students Against Drunk Driving, participated in a “Quick Click Challenge” today at Butler Tech’s Lesourdsville campus. Teams of four raced to buckle into a vehicle, change seats and buckled up again.
“The ‘Quick Click Challenge,’ which you saw here today, is one of those ways to reinforce that seat belt usage is the number one life saving message in a car,” Lucio said. “All other safety features are built around the assumption that someone is going to use their seat belt.”
That message is something that grandmother Linda Wright said she’s so grateful her granddaughter listened to. Wright said her granddaughter and her friends were driving down the street to get ice cream when they were in a serious crash last May.
"Without the seat belt, we were told over and over, they would have been ejected and would not have lived,” Wright said. “For us, we're very grateful as a family that three teenagers in a car decided it was important to put seat belts on. It saved their lives. It truly did."
The Ohio State Highway Patrol said crashes involving people who are not wearing a seat belt more often result in serious injuries or death. Butler Safe Communities said about 65% of all fatal crashes in the country involve people who were not wearing seat belts.
That’s why troopers and other law enforcement will be stepping up patrols to encourage people to buckle up.
"It's not a choice,” said Clint Arnold, Hamilton Post Commander with the Ohio State Highway Patrol. “It's not your right not to wear one. It's the law and we expect you to comply with it."