TAVARES — In an effort to increase safety belt usage among Florida motorists, the Lake County Community Traffic Safety Team is joining law enforcement statewide in the “Click It or Ticket Florida” initiative from May 18-31.
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. More Floridians buckled up last year, a simple act that saves scores of lives. Safety belt use in the state climbed slightly to 81.7 percent, pulling almost even with the national average of 82 percent.
“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.”
Too many Floridians still choose not to wear their safety belts. “Click It or Ticket Florida” is designed to raise awareness about the importance of buckling up through events and increased enforcement. Memorial Day is deadlier for traffic accidents 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, which leaves nearly four million Floridians unrestrained. Data from the NHTSA shows that drivers and passengers who do not buckle up are about 14 times more likely to die in a traffic crash than those who use their safety belt. Buckling up is the 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 firsthand 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. For more information on the national “Click It or Ticket” mobilization, log on to www.clickitfla.com.