Be safe, buckle up
State and local law enforcement officers issued 10,938 seat belt and child passenger safety citations across North Carolina during the 20th Anniversary campaign of "Click It or Ticket," May 20-June 2.
Rutherford County law enforcement officers implemented 44 checkpoints and patrols resulting in 88 occupant restraint charges, a minor increase from last year's 81.
Statewide, officers conducted 8,482 checkpoints and patrols during the campaign.
Counties with the highest number of occupant restraint charges this year included Wake (658), Guilford (458), Mecklenburg (425) and Johnston (425).
During the "Click It or Ticket" campaign, the Governor's Highway Safety Program (GHSP) teamed up with the North Carolina Highway Patrol and local law enforcement agencies across the state, with officers focusing their efforts on all Interstates, major highways, rural two-lane roads and city streets to encourage seat belt safety and cite those were not buckled up.
"The safety of everyone who travels our roadways is always a top priority," said North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) Secretary Tony Tata, in a press release.
Officers are aggressive during "Click It or Ticket" because seat belt violations often lead to additional citations including speeding violations, DWI charges, driving while licensed revoked charges, reckless driving charges and uninsured motorist violations.
During the recent campaign, Rutherford County traffic law charges and violations included 153 speeding, nine DWI, 20 driving while license revoked, four reckless driving and two uninsured motorist.
In addition to law enforcement efforts, the GHSP and NCDOT launched a social media campaign to increase awareness and remind passengers to buckle up.
Motorists and passengers were asked to use their cell phone cameras to snap a self-portrait of themselves buckled up while parked and share it on social media using the hashtag, "#SafetySelfie."
These "#SafetySelfie" pictures were posted on sites including Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram, including one posted by Governor Pat McCrory.
The "Click It or Ticket" campaign is one of several enforcement programs used by state and local law enforcement officers to help keep drivers safe on state highways and county roads.
Since launching the campaign 20 years ago, the number of reported crashes, fatalities and injuries involving unbelted passengers has dropped significantly in North Carolina.
Law enforcement officers responded to 38,289 crashes involving unbelted passengers in 1992. By 2012, the totals dropped to 8,187.
"Our first-in-the-nation "Click It or Ticket" campaign reminds us that while we've made significant progress we still have work to do to encourage every driver and passenger to buckle up," Tata said.
Rutherford County "Click It or Ticket" Citations
(past two years):