WESTPORT, Conn. -- Westport Police will be cracking down on seatbelt violations through the Thanksgiving weekend.
The Westport Police Department will be taking part in the Click It or Ticket campaign through Monday, Nov. 27. Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel days of the year, with millions of Americans taking to the road to celebrate the holiday.
In order to ensure that travelers make it to their Thanksgiving celebrations safely, the Westport Police Department is teaming up with the United States Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for the high-visibility Click It or Ticket mobilization campaign, to look out for those who are not buckling up. The campaign is a way of spreading the life-saving message about the importance of seatbelt safety. For many people, simply seeing officers patrolling the roads is an effective reminder to follow safety laws.
Nearly half of all passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashed in 2015 were unbuckled at the time of their fatal crash, and 53 percent of those killed during Thanksgiving weekend were also unbuckled, according to police.
"That means that 301 passenger vehicle occupants were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes nationwide on Thanksgiving weekend—and 301 families mourned their loss," police said. "Think nighttime is the safer time to drive because there’s less traffic? Wrong. Fifty-seven percent of those killed during Thanksgiving weekend crashes that occurred at night were unbuckled."
NHTSA research shows that males are more likely to be unbuckled than females, and that younger drivers and passengers are the most likely to be unbuckled. Seatbelts saved 13,941 lives nationwide in 2015, and if everyone had buckled up, then 2,804 additional lives could have been saved, according to NHTSA.
"Much like fatalities caused by drunk driving, these deaths should be 100-percent preventable. Research shows that with proper seat belt use, the risk of fatal injury to front seat passengers is reduced by 45 percent, and the risk of moderate to serious injury is reduced by 50 percent."
In Connecticut, seatbelts are required for drivers and passengers in the front seat, passengers in a car operated by a person under 18, and anyone in the car under the age of 16 unless otherwise secured in a child safety seat. Violators face penalties between $92 and $120.
"This Thanksgiving, give thanks for the local law enforcement officers that work around the clock to make sure you and your family are driving safe to your Thanksgiving destinations. The Westport Police Department wishes everyone a happy and safe holiday. Ensure your presence at next year’s Thanksgiving gatherings by buckling up. Remember: Click It or Ticket."
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