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Police Cracking Down on Buckling Up

Agencies statewide are mobilizing to enforce seat belt use during the Click It or Ticket campaign.

California’s 2008 Click It or Ticket mobilization will take place Tuesday through June 1, and the Lompoc Police Department will be among the law enforcement agencies aggressively enforcing the state’s occupant protection laws.

The campaign relies on heavy enforcement and public education to help California achieve the highest seat belt use rate in the nation. California has the nation’s fourth-highest use rate at 94.6 percent.

“We want to make sure that all drivers and passengers buckle up on every ride, day and night,” Lompoc Sgt. Ed Lardner said. “Our officers will be on the lookout for those who are not buckled up and for teens and children not riding properly restrained. We will not accept excuses or give warnings. It’s Click It or Ticket.”

California has a primary seat belt law, which requires that every passenger in the car, including the driver, wear a seat belt at all times. If stopped and found to be in violation, citations will be issued without warning. Tickets for first seat belt violations range from $80 to $91 for adults and $330 to $401 for children younger than age 16, depending on the county.

“We’re doing well with nearly 95 percent buckling up,” said Christopher Murphy, director of the California Office of Traffic Safety. “That’s 1.5 million more people protected from death and injury by using seat belts since the Click It or Ticket campaign started in 2005. But we can do better."

While the buckle-up rate for adults has continued to climb in recent years, California’s teen seat belt use rate lags behind the general population. In 2007, California’s teen seat belt use rate was 88.9 percent, well below the state rate of 94.6 percent.

More than 280 law enforcement agencies statewide will be participating in this year’s Click It or Ticket mobilization. Additionally, agencies are encouraged to conduct nighttime patrols in an effort to boost compliance at night.

Funding for officer overtime to support California’s Click It or Ticket campaign was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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