Use seat belts day and night
The Socorro County Sheriff’s Department is cracking down day and night on motorists who don’t wear seat belts, as part of the national Click It or Ticket initiative, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Highway safety is especially important in Socorro County because it is one of the worst counties in New Mexico — a state with traffic death rates already significantly higher than the national average — in terms of motor vehicle crash deaths per 100,000 people, according to the New Mexico Department of Health.
Statistics kept by the NHTSA show that wearing a seat belt while driving increases the chance of survival if a motorist is in an accident. More than 12,000 people nationwide survived car crashes because they were wearing seat belts just in 2010 alone, according to a press release.
“Those who choose not to wear a seat belt will feel the heat from our officers who will be out cracking down on Click It or Ticket violators,” said Chief Deputy Shorty Vaiza. “Motorists should buckle up every time they go out, both day and night. Our officers are prepared to ticket anyone not buckled up … no warnings, and no excuses.”
This year’s Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement mobilization emphasizes to motorists the increased risk of driving without a safety harness at night, which police consider from 6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m. Nationally, in 2010, more than 60 percent of motorists killed in crashes at night were not wearing seat belts, but only about 40 percent who were not wearing seat belts during the day were killed, according to a press release.
The 2012 initiative began on May 21 and runs through Sunday, but officers enforce seat belt laws year-round because more than half of those killed in all vehicle crashes nationwide in 2010 were not wearing seat belts, according to the release.
“Too many drivers and passengers on the road at night are not wearing their seat belts,” Vaiza said. “And it all too often ends in tragedy. Our goal is to save more lives, so Socorro County Sheriff’s Department will be out enforcing seat belt laws around the clock.”
Also, men from 18 to 34 are more prone than any other age group to not wear seat belts while driving. Of all the men in that age group who died in a motor vehicle crash in 2010, 62 percent did not have on a safety harness, according to the press release.