TAVARES — In an effort to increase safety-belt usage among motorists, the Lake County Community Traffic Safety Team is joining law enforcement statewide in the “Click It or Ticket Florida” initiative from May 21-June 3.
During this initiative, law enforcement will show zero tolerance for unrestrained motorists. Historically, Memorial Day weekend is one of the deadliest holidays for roadway travelers. During the 2006 holiday, 32 people were killed in traffic crashes in the state of Florida, according to preliminary data from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Of those, 66 percent were found to be unrestrained at the time of crash.
With the support of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), the Lake County Community Traffic Safety Team hopes to make this a record-setting year for lives saved.
“This campaign serves to protect all motorists on Florida’s roadways,” said Noble Olasimbo, Chairman of the Lake County Community Traffic Safety Team. “These tickets will serve as reminders and hopefully get people to consider the real costs of not taking safety measures. If we save one person’s life, it is all worth it.”
“Click It or Ticket Florida” is designed to raise awareness about the importance of buckling up through high-visibility events and increased enforcement. Memorial Day is deadlier than New Year’s Eve and the Fourth of July, so it is an appropriate time for this heightened effort.
According to FDOT, 80 percent of drivers and passengers in Florida are using their safety belts; however, this leaves nearly four million Floridians unrestrained. NHTSA data shows that drivers and passengers who do not buckle up are approximately 14 times more likely to die in a traffic crash than those who use their safety belt, which is why this initiative is so significant. Buckling up is the single most important thing one can do to prevent injury or death when involved in an accident.
“It is too common for drivers and passenger to have an invincible mentality,” Olasimbo said. “The numbers don’t lie. We have seen first-hand the devastating effects of not wearing safety belts, and we want to prevent fatalities in any way possible, even if it means giving people tickets.”
The combination of increased safety belt enforcement with television and radio announcements has been shown to increase safety belt usage because of the constant reminder for motorists to “click it.”
For more information on the national “Click It or Ticket” initiative, log on to www.clickitfla.com.