[Windham County, VT] — During this year’s national Click It or Ticket seat belt campaign, which will take place May 24 through June 6, 2021, The Windham County Highway Safety Task Force (WCHSTF) consisting of members of the Windham County Sheriff's Office, Bellows Falls Police Department, Brattleboro Police Department and Dover Police Department will be teaming up with law enforcement nationwide for a Border to Border (B2B) kickoff event. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is asking all states to participate in B2B, a one-day, 4-hour national seat belt awareness event on May 24, which is coordinated by participating state highway safety offices and their respective law enforcement liaisons. The B2B initiative aims to increase law enforcement participation by coordinating highly visible seat belt enforcement for drivers at state border checkpoints.
According to NHTSA, in 2019, there were 9,466 unbuckled passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in the United States. In that same year, 55% of passenger vehicle occupants killed at night (6 p.m.–5:59 a.m.) were not wearing their seat belts. That’s why one focus of the Click It or Ticket campaign and the B2B kickoff event is nighttime enforcement. Participating law enforcement agencies will be taking a no-excuses approach to seat belt law enforcement, writing citations both day and night. In Vermont the penalty for a seat belt violation is $25 for a first conviction, $50 for a second conviction and $100 for three plus prior convictions.
“The Border to Border component of the Click It or Ticket campaign is important because it raises awareness about seat belt safety during a time when seat belt use is decreased,” said WCHSTF Coordinator Sgt. Chris Norton. “With an increased number of cars flooding the roads due to the upcoming Memorial Day holiday, it’s imperative we get the word out about the importance of seat belt safety.”
“In 2020, Vermont lost 24 people because they did not buckle their seat belts,” said Sgt. Norton. 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 2019, more than half (51%) were unrestrained. For females killed in crashes, 40% were not buckled up.
“We aren’t handing out tickets for the thrill of it. If enforcement wakes people up to the dangers of unrestrained driving, we’ll consider our mission to be a success,” said Sgt. Norton. “If you know a friend or a family member who does not buckle up when they drive, please ask them to consider changing their habits. Help us spread this lifesaving 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.
For more information on the Click It or Ticket mobilization, please visit www.nhtsa.gov/ciot
Follow the Windham County Highway Safety Task Force on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/WindhamCountyHSTF
Follow Sgt. Norton on Twitter @WCSO166