CHARLESTON, WV – As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches and more drivers hit the roads, the West Virginia Governor’s Highway Safety Program (WV GHSP) is reminding all drivers of the importance of seat belt use. The WV GHSP is joining the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for the 2020 Click It or Ticket high-visibility enforcement mobilization that runs from Nov. 16-29, 2020.

Along with other law enforcement agencies nationwide, West Virginia law enforcement officers will be out in full force, ticketing seat belt violators who are caught traveling without a buckled seat belt or transporting unrestrained children. Aimed at enforcing seat belt use to help keep all vehicle occupants safe, the national seat belt campaign runs concurrent with this busy travel season.

“Every time you get behind the wheel, buckling up is the very first thing you’ve got to do, whether you’re the driver or the passenger, there are no exceptions,” West Virginia Governor Jim Justice said. “It may seem like a minor detail but all it takes is one accident for a seat belt to be the difference between life and death. I urge every West Virginian to buckle up every time they’re on the road so we can all enjoy a safe and happy holiday season.”

“Even with the information we share with the public, we still have about 10 percent of drivers and passengers not wearing their seat belts. Why? It usually comes down to lack of knowledge. If you know better, you do better. No one sets out on a road trip and thinks, ‘I might be in a terrible crash today.’ But we know crashes do happen every day,” said Bob Tipton, WV GHSP Director. “That said, we also know that seat belts save lives.

“If you knew you would be involved in a crash, wouldn’t you want to be buckled? It’s your best defense against injury or death. As a former law enforcement officer, I have seen too many people skip this vital step and pay for it,” continued Tipton.

Several law enforcement agencies in West Virginia border counties will be participating in a seat belt mobilization effort with a one-day initiative called Border to Border (B2B), which is a coordinated effort with law enforcement agencies in border counties in surrounding states. West Virginia law enforcement agencies will partner with their colleagues in Maryland and Virginia on Nov. 16, 2020, and in Kentucky and Ohio on Nov. 20, 2020.

According to NHTSA, in 2018, there were 9,778 unbuckled passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in the United States. In that same year, 56 percent of passenger vehicle occupants killed at night (6 p.m.–5:59 a.m.) were not wearing their seat belts. That is why one focus of the Click It or Ticket campaign is nighttime enforcement. Participating law enforcement agencies will be taking a no-excuses approach to seat belt law enforcement, writing citations day and night.

Remember, wearing your seat belt is required by law. Day and night, front seat and back, Click It or Ticket. And don’t just buckle up to avoid a ticket – our friends’ and families’ lives in West Virginia are more important than that. If you’re caught driving while unbuckled, and you get a ticket, think of it as your wakeup call. A ticket is less expensive than paying with your life.

For more information about the Click It or Ticket mobilization, visit www.nhtsa.gov/ciot. For more information about the West Virginia Governor’s Highway Safety Program, visit the WV GHSP website, or call the WV GHSP at 304-926-2509.

The purpose of the West Virginia Governor’s Highway Safety Program (GHSP) is to encourage, promote, and support highway safety across West Virginia through the implementation of federally mandated and funded highway safety improvement measures. The GHSP reflects Governor Jim Justice’s ongoing commitment to ensuring the safety of every traveler by raising awareness of common dangerous driving conditions. GHSP safety initiatives aim to decrease impaired and distracted driving, increase seat belt and child safety seat usage, and target speed reduction, among other goals.

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