August 10, 2022
CHARLESTON, WV - Summer is winding down and as people prepare for one last weekend away during the Labor Day holiday or a quick vacation before school is in session, more drivers are on West Virginia roads. The West Virginia Governor’s Highway Safety Program (GHSP) is reminding all drivers of the importance of correct seat belt use.
The GHSP is coordinating a statewide Click It or Ticket high-visibility enforcement mobilization that is currently underway. West Virginia’s statewide Click or Ticket mobilization continues through Aug. 21, 2022.
West Virginia law enforcement officers are on the roadways, ticketing seat belt violators traveling without a correctly buckled seat belt or transporting unrestrained children. This statewide seat belt campaign is aimed at enforcing proper seat belt use to help keep all vehicle occupants safe as part of the GHSP’s year-round highway safety activities to curb the number of crashes, fatalities, and injuries in West Virginia. The GHSP supports several statewide Click It or Ticket high-visibility enforcement mobilizations throughout the year.
“Seat belts save lives, and if just one life is saved, mobilizations like this are worthwhile,” said Gov. Jim Justice.
In 2020, 47 percent of all passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in West Virginia were unrestrained.
People who live in rural areas might believe their crash exposure is lower, but in 2020, 64 percent of total vehicle fatalities in West Virginia occurred in rural locations.
“Wearing a seat belt can reduce the risk of fatal injury by 45%. The seat belt prevents a driver or passenger from being ejected or becoming a projectile within the vehicle. Knowing that, I would ask, ‘Why wouldn’t you wear your seat belt? Why risk it?’” said GHSP Director Bob Tipton.
“We have reiterated the data this year. Our seat belt usage rate went down in 2021. Roadway fatalities went up last year. It is imperative that we change driver and passenger behavior so that lives are saved. Too many people die in crashes where they would have survived if they had been wearing their seat belt,” continued Tipton.
“Approximately 12 percent of West Virginia drivers and passengers do not correctly wear their seat belts. We are working hard to change this trend. Wearing your seat belt is required by law. Our long-term goal is to have 100% of drivers and passengers in West Virginia correctly buckling their seat belts day and night, front seat and back, every time they travel in a vehicle. Additionally, we are working toward an ultimate goal of zero deaths on West Virginia roads. These goals are achieved through various means, including statewide enforcement periods like this one,” Tipton explained.
The values of our families’ and friends’ lives in West Virginia are priceless—and much higher in value than the money violators pay if ticketed, which is $25 with no additional court costs or fees. If you are caught driving while unbuckled and you get a ticket, look at it as your wakeup call. A ticket is less expensive than paying with your life or the lives of your family and friends.
“Click It or Ticket isn’t about citations; it’s about saving lives,” concluded Tipton.
For more information about the West Virginia Governor’s Highway Safety Program, visit highwaysafety.wv.gov or call 304-926-2509.