FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Morgantown Police Department Reminds Drivers: Click It or Ticket
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Morgantown Police Department is reminding drivers about the lifesaving benefits of wearing a seat belt this spring in conjunction with the West Virginia Governor’s Highway Safety Program’s statewide Click It or Ticket high-visibility enforcement effort. The statewide blitz will be held March 5-21, 2021.
The national seat belt use rate in 2019 was 90.7 percent and in West Virginia, it was 90.17 percent. Those numbers are good — but we can do better. The remaining 9.83 percent of West Virginians still need to be reminded that seat belts save lives.
“During the remainder of March, the Morgantown Police Department will be stepping up our efforts to both enforce seat belt laws and educate the public on the importance of wearing seat belts,” said Interim Chief Eric Powell.
Men make up the majority of those killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes. In 2019, 65 percent of the 22,215 passenger vehicle occupants who were killed nationwide were men. Men also wear their seat belts at a lower rate than women do — 51 percent of men killed in crashes were unrestrained, compared to 40 percent of women killed in crashes.
There seems to be a misconception among those who drive and ride in pickup trucks that their large vehicles will protect them better than other vehicles would in a crash. The numbers say otherwise: 58 percent of pickup truck occupants who were killed in 2019 were not buckled. That’s compared to 43 percent of passenger car occupants who were not wearing seat belts when they were killed. Regardless of vehicle type, seat belt use is the single most effective way to stay alive in a crash.
People who live in rural areas might believe that their crash exposure is lower, but in 2019, there were 11,971 passenger vehicle fatalities in rural locations, compared to 10,187 fatalities in urban locations. Out of those fatalities, 48 percent of those killed in the rural locations were not wearing their seat belts, compared to 45 percent in urban locations.
High-visibility seat belt enforcement is important 24 hours a day, but nighttime is especially deadly for unbuckled occupants. In 2019, 55 percent of passenger vehicle occupants killed at night (6 p.m.–5:59 a.m.) were not wearing their seat belts.
Click It or Ticket isn’t about citations; it’s about saving lives. In 2019, there were 9,466 unbuckled passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in the United States. To help prevent crash fatalities, we need to step up seat belt enforcement, day and night.
For more information on seat belt usage, visit nhtsa.gov/seat-belts/seat-belts-save-lives.