Buckle Up - Deadly Holiday Traffic Season Opens
LABELLE, FL. -- With the holidays upon us and millions of Americans hitting the roads, Hendry County Sheriff Steve Whidden wants everyone to arrive safely at their destinations. We want drivers and passengers alike to remember, to Buckle Up. Every Trip, Every Time.
"Many of us over-indulge in holiday goodies and loosen our belts a little after dinner," said Sheriff Steve Whidden. "But remember, there's nothing that should keep you from tightening your seat belt when you get in a motor vehicle. The potential consequences are just too great."
While seat belt use is at a record high of 85% nationwide, 45 million Americans still fail to buckle up when they get in a motor vehicle. According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), on any given day about 38 passenger vehicle occupants who are not buckled up are killed in motor vehicle crashes.
In 2008 alone, nearly 13,000 unbuckled passenger vehicle occupants lost their lives on U.S. roadways. It is estimated that nearly one third of these lives could have been saved if they had been properly belted. NHTSA statistics also show that those least likely to buckle up are teens; young adults; males; nighttime riders; motorists traveling on rural roads, and individuals traveling in pickup trucks.
"Sadly, the holidays, which for many are the happiest time of the year, is also one of the deadliest and most tragic," said Sheriff Whidden.
Hendry County Law Enforcement officers will be cracking down on seat-belt violators after the law was changed last year to allow citations solely for people who don't buckle up. Sheriff Whidden wants to remind everyone "the goal is simple; we want to get more drivers and passengers to buckle up day and night."
"No one wants to have to start the holidays off wrong with a ticket," said Sheriff Steve Whidden. "But we would rather issue a citation than have to notify a family member about the death of a loved one that could have been prevented by wearing a seat belt." A ticket for not wearing your seatbelt could cost you $113.00 not having a child properly secured in a child restraint could cost you $163.00 and three points against your driver's license.
The 2010 Thanksgiving holiday campaign will run from November 21 30. "I want to remind everyone that wearing your seat belt is the most effective way to protect people and reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes. Wearing a seat belt costs you nothing, but not wearing it could cost you a ticket or worse
your life," said Hendry County Sheriff Steve Whidden.