Is everyone in your family buckling up?

In 20 percent of the motor vehicle accident fatalities in Washington, the person who died wasn't wearing a seatbelt. This is unfortunate because there's a high likelihood that these fatalities wouldn't have happened if the victim made smart choice to buckle up. Other Washington state statistics show that 5 percent of drivers don't wear seat belts when they get behind the wheel.

Police throughout Washington are trying to encourage more drivers and passengers to use seat belts in its "Click It or Ticket" seat belt awareness campaign. The state Traffic Safety Commission carries out the Click It or Ticket campaign every year for the purpose of educating drivers and the general public about the importance of seat belt use.

Interestingly, some driving demographics are more likely to refrain from using a seat belt than others. Who are the worst offenders? Men driving pickup trucks and teenage drivers – especially teens who are riding in cars with other teens.

The state Traffic Safety Commission has been leading the Click It or Ticket campaign for the last 17 years. By identifying the above two at-risk demographics, the commission hopes to target them specifically in its efforts to encourage the use of seat belts. The state is also financing increased police enforcement of seat belt laws. The fine for failing to wear a seat belt is $136.

Police stressed that they are strictly enforcing seat belt laws -- not because they want to punish the offenders, but because they want to change the behavior of people who are risking their lives. Certainly, if you have ever lost a loved one in a car accident, you know how important it is to keep ourselves and others safe on the road. Another way to encourage drivers to be safer is to hold them financially liable for the accidents, injuries and deaths they cause.

Source: Tri-City Herald, "If you're driving this, the state is checking you out this weekend," Cameron Probert, May 23, 2018

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