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Pinellas Park Police Kicks Off Click It or Ticket Enforcement
Extended Hours to Focus on All Unbuckled Motorists - Day and Night

Pinellas Park Police announced today they are joining with hundreds of other law enforcement agencies across Florida in renewing a pledge to save lives by intensifying efforts to enforce seat belt laws - among all motorists and around the clock - during the Click It or Ticket mobilization, which runs from March 1 – March 15, 2009.

According to 2008 data from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, 2,983 individuals were killed in motor vehicle related crashes. Of these traffic deaths, 1,795 individuals were either drivers or passengers in safety belt equipped vehicles. Sixty percent (1,085) of these people killed were not wearing a safety belt.

In addition in 2008, sixty-eight percent (54 of 79) of the children ages 0 to 17 years old killed in traffic crashes were not using safety equipment.

"With 30 percent of traffic fatalities due to Floridians failing to buckle up regularly, it's clear that far too many people still don't take the safety belt law seriously," Captain Sanfield Forseth said. "The unbuckled rate is especially high - and the fatal crash rate increases significantly at night. So look for us to be out on the streets both day and night in March making sure that everyone is buckled up."

Research has shown that lap/shoulder belts, when used properly; reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants by 45 percent and the risk of moderate to critical injury by 50 percent. For light-truck occupants, safety belts reduce the risk of fatal injury by 60 percent and moderate-to-critical injury by 65 percent.

Safety belts are 80-percent effective in reducing fatalities in light trucks (including sport utility vehicles) during rollover crashes. They also help prevent individuals from being totally ejected during a crash, thus reducing the risk of a fatal injury.

Captain Forseth said, "Worn correctly, seat belts have proven to reduce the risk of fatal injury in a crash by 45 percent for front-seat passenger vehicle occupants and by 60 percent in pickup trucks, SUVs, and minivans. In fact, data shows that more than three-quarters (77%) of passenger vehicle occupants who were in a serious crash in 2006 and were buckled up survived the crash."

Increased law enforcement activities, including seat belt checkpoints, will be conducted nationwide during the 2008 Click It or Ticket mobilization. Paid national advertising, as well as State advertising, will support the mobilization by promoting the life-saving benefits of regular seat belt use, especially nighttime belt use, to all motorists.

"Regular seat belt use is the single most effective way to protect people and reduce motor vehicle crash fatalities. And high-visibility enforcement is effective at getting people to buckle up," said Captain Forseth. "Wearing your seat belt is easy and it costs you nothing. Not wearing it might cost you a ticket, or worse - your life. I urge everyone in Pinellas Park to please be safe and buckle up day and night - Click It or Ticket."

To learn more about the Click It or Ticket campaign and the lifesaving benefits of wearing your seat belt, please visit www.nhtsa.gov.