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Between May 22 and May 30, the Lombard Police Department participated in the annual Click It or Ticket high-visibility seat-belt enforcement campaign, bringing awareness to area residents and writing 78 citations for seat-belt violations in the process.
The campaign, which coincided with one of the busiest holiday weekends of the year, sought to stress the importance of seat-belt use through enforcement and community outreach. Click It or Ticket is implemented through the Illinois Department of Transportation and supported by federal highway safety funds.
“It was a successful campaign this year, and we believe through our enforcement efforts, we helped save lives,” said Traffic Safety Unit Sgt. Joe Grage. “We know seat belts save lives in vehicle crashes. Issuing tickets was not our goal, but it was a way to remind people of the importance of such a simple action.”
According to the latest data available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 9,874 of the 22,441 passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes nationwide in 2015 were not belted. During this year’s campaign, NHTSA urged law enforcement agencies nationwide to issue seat-belt citations to anyone caught in violation of the law—during the day and especially at night, when 57 percent of those killed are unrestrained. By adding patrols at night, and training officers on specific techniques to catch nighttime violators, the campaign was a “major success,” Sgt. Joe Grage said.
Illinois’ seat-belt use rate is 93 percent, down from 95.2 percent in 2015. The national seat-belt use rate is at 88.5 percent, according to NHTSA’s 2015 data. This Click It or Ticket campaign aims to change the behavior of the millions of people who still don’t buckle up. Thousands of lives could be saved each year if every vehicle occupant was properly restrained when traveling on the road.
For more information on the Click It or Ticket mobilization, visit buckleupillinois.org.