To the editor:
As summer kicks off and families hit the road for vacations, the Sidney Police Department is reminding motorists to Click It or Ticket. Aimed at enforcing seat belt use to help keep you and your family safe, the national seat belt campaign will take place May 22 through June 4, concurrent with one of the busiest travel and holiday weekends of the year.
Our law enforcement personnel see firsthand the loss of life when people refuse to buckle up. It’s such a simple thing, and it should be an automatic next step after sitting down in a vehicle. As the Memorial Day weekend approaches and the summer vacation season ramps up, we want to keep our community members safe, and make sure people are doing the one thing that can save them in a crash: buckling up. If the enforcement crackdown wakes people up to the dangers of unrestrained driving and gets them to buckle up, we’ll consider it a success.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly half of the 22,441 passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in 2015 were unrestrained. At night from 6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m., that number soared to 57 percent of those killed. That’s why one focus of the Click It or Ticket campaign is nighttime enforcement. Participating law enforcement agencies will be taking a no-excuses approach to seat belt law enforcement, writing citations day and night. In Ohio, the maximum penalty for a seat belt violation is $116.
Almost twice as many males were killed in crashes as compared to females, with lower belt use rates, too. Of the males killed in crashes in 2015, more than half (52 percent) were unrestrained. For females killed in crashes, 42 percent were not buckled up.
Did you know someone who was killed in a crash because they did not buckle up? Please, help us spread this life-saving message before one more friend or family member is killed as a result of this senseless inaction. Seat belts save lives, and everyone — front seat and back, child and adult — needs to remember to buckle up, every trip, every time.
Chief William Balling
Sidney Police Department