This Thanksgiving, the Connecticut Department of Transportation is teaming up with state and local police, and the U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and law enforcement agencies across the country on a high-visibility Click It or Ticket mobilization to make sure all Thanksgiving travelers are wearing their seat belts.
Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel times of the year, when millions of Americans hit the road to spend time with friends and family. But more vehicles on the road means potential for more crashes and more fatalities.
The Click It or Ticket campaign is designed to save lives by making sure all Connecticut drivers and passengers get the message to wear their seat belts. The campaign combines powerful messages about seat belt safety with increased patrolling for all unbuckled motorists.
“Tragically, almost half of the people who died in a fatal traffic crash last Thanksgiving were not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash,” said James P. Redeker, Commissioner of the CT Department of Transportation. “Wearing your seat belt is the single most effective way to protect yourself in a car crash.”
In Connecticut, the law requires all drivers and passengers in the front seat, as well as all children under 16 in all positions to wear seatbelts. Fines start at a minimum of $92 for first offense.
During the 2014 Thanksgiving holiday period (Wednesday, November 26, through Monday, December 1), there were 341 passenger vehicle occupants killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes nationwide, and fifty percent of those killed were NOT wearing seat belts. Some of these tragic deaths may have been prevented by seat belt use. NHTSA research indicates that proper seat belt use reduces the risk of fatal injury to front seat passengers by 45 percent, and the risk of moderate to serious injury by 50 percent.
In 2014, seat belts saved the lives of 12,802 passenger vehicle occupants. If seat belt use had been at 100 percent, an additional 2,814 people would still be alive this Thanksgiving.
“As Chairman of the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association Traffic Safety Committee we see the devastation first-hand when people fail to buckle up in a crash, so whether you’re driving down the street, across town, or hundreds of miles away, you must wear your seat belt,” said Chief John Gavallas, Watertown Police Department. “This Thanksgiving and every day of the year, remember: Click It or Ticket. Day and Night.”
For more information about traveling safely during Thanksgiving, please visit www.nhtsa.gov.