New York 'Click It or Ticket' campaigns running through June 2

All around New York and across the nation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is sponsoring "Click It or Ticket" campaigns to encourage all vehicle occupants to wear seatbelts and to fasten their kids into safety seats. As Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer, NHTSA and state and local police departments will be out in force. They hope that doubling the number of seatbelt tickets will drive home the message, so to speak.

Wearing seat belts and using appropriate child restraint systems are, of course, both good ideas. The fact is, however, people do forget or neglect to wear them. According to NHTSA, men between 18 and 34 are the least likely group to wear seat belts when they're in the driver's seat. Buckling up is also less common at night, so be aware that traffic officers will be stepping up their enforcement around the clock.

This year, New Jersey's major focus will be on ticketing passengers caught without seat belts, and that may also be the case in New York. According to New Jersey law enforcement officials, 88 percent of adult drivers and passengers in the front seat wear seat belts in that state -- but only 36 percent of adult back-seat passengers do. Therefore, police departments in New Jersey will definitely be focusing on ticketing passengers without seat belts.

It's not very controversial to encourage seat belt and child safety seat use. A bit more controversial is the idea of local police receiving federal grants to run compliance campaigns. BloombergBusinessweek, for example, recently ran an article pointing out that traffic compliance campaigns like "Click It or Ticket" are extremely lucrative for law enforcement. The magazine spoke with Nebraska's highway safety administrator, who said he expects the campaign to double the number of tickets typically issued, which will generate an additional $350,000 in traffic ticket revenues over the two-week period.

Luckily, law enforcement agencies are generally very open about when and where traffic compliance campaigns will be run -- not so people can avoid getting traffic tickets, but so they can remember to "click it." So drive safely, and wear your seat belts.

Source: Time, "Peak Traffic Ticket Season Is Here: Police Pushed to Give More Seat Belt Violation Citations," Brad Tuttle, May 15, 2013

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