FOR RELEASE: May 14, 2008
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2008 ‘Click It or Ticket” Campaign Unveiled

Governor M. Jodi Rell, Lieutenant Governor Michael Fedele and officials from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Federal Highway Administration, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Connecticut Department of Public Safety, Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles, Connecticut Department of Public Health, Connecticut Department of Transportation (DOT) and local law enforcement agencies joined together on Tuesday, May 13, 2008, at DOT headquarters in Newington to kick off the 2008 “Click It or Ticket” Campaign.

The event featured speakers as well as visual displays, demonstrations and the unveiling of the campaign.  Motorcycle officers led a procession and child passenger safety technicians were on hand to demonstrate how to properly install child safety seats. A Safety Belt simulator and Rollover simulator was also on site to show the importance of buckling up.

“Regular safety belt use is the single most effective way to protect people and reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes,” said Governor Rell, noting NHTSA statistics showing that adult lap and shoulder safety belts, when worn correctly, reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants by 45 percent – and by 60 percent in pickup trucks, SUVs and mini-vans. “Yet nearly one in five Americans (19 percent nationally) still fail to regularly wear their seat belts when driving or riding in a motor vehicle according to NHTSA. Connecticut is consistent with the national average in that nearly one in five people still fail to regularly wear their safety belts when driving or riding in a motor vehicle.”

“That’s why we are announcing today that we are joining with state and local law enforcement and highway safety officials to launch an aggressive national ‘Click It or Ticket’ seat belt enforcement mobilization,” said Lieutenant Governor Fedele. “The goal is to reduce highway fatalities – with a new emphasis this year on convincing more motorists to buckle up – day and night.”

More than 15,000 passenger vehicle occupants died in traffic crashes between the nighttime hours of 6:00 p.m. and 5:59 a.m. during 2005, according to NHTSA – and 59 percent of those passenger vehicle occupants killed were NOT wearing their seat belts at the time of the fatal crash.  In Connecticut in 2006, there were 41 fatalities of unbelted occupants between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. 

Law enforcement officials addressed those motorists who still do not understand that Safety Belts Save Lives.  Safety belt checkpoints and other stepped-up law enforcement activities will be conducted during the national “Click It or Ticket” enforcement mobilization, which runs May 12 through June 1, 2008.

“The focus of this year’s enforcement campaign is on nighttime seat belt usage,” said Acting DOT Commissioner H. James Boice, who also serves as Governor Rell’s Highway Safety Representative. “Police throughout the state will be setting up seat belt checkpoints at all hours of the day and night.”

During previous Click It or Ticket campaigns, the majority of checkpoints were set up during daylight hours.  This year, seat belt enforcement checkpoints will be manned literally all hours of the day and night.

“Everyone traveling in a motor vehicle should always wear their safety belt.  Children should always use a height and weight appropriate child safety seat and should ride in the back seat, as this seating position is the safest for them,” said Acting Commissioner Boice. “Unless you want to risk a ticket, or worse – your life – you need to always remember to ‘Click It or Ticket,’ every time, every trip.”

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