With the unofficial start of summer arriving with the Memorial Day holiday this past weekend, the highways are starting to fill with families in vehicles, on their way to summer vacations. To help keep drivers and passengers safe, the Oakdale Police Department is reminding motorists to Click It or Ticket. The national seat belt campaign is in effect through Sunday, June 3, concurrent with the busy travel season.
The Oakdale Police Department will deploy additional officers during the campaign on special traffic patrols specifically to stop and ticket both drivers and passengers for failing to use the vehicle’s safety belt restraints. This will also include drivers who fail to secure children in the proper child restraint seats.
“Buckling up is such a simple task that can keep you and your family safe in the car,” said Chief Scott Heller of the Oakdale Police Department. “But it’s more than that. Buckling up is the law. Our law enforcement personnel see the consequences of not buckling up. We see the loss of life and injuries at the scene of a crash. Often, deaths could have been prevented and injuries reduced with the simple click of a seat belt. This should be automatic.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly half (48 percent) of the passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in 2016 were unrestrained. At night from 6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m., that number soared to 56 percent of those killed. That’s why one focus of the Click It or Ticket campaign is nighttime enforcement. Police, Sheriff and the CHP will be taking a no-excuses approach to seat belt law enforcement, writing citations day and night. In California, the minimum penalty for a seat belt violation is $162.
“Every day, we want everyone in every vehicle to remember that buckling up could be their greatest defense in a crash,” said Rhonda Craft, Director of the California Office of Traffic Safety. “Putting on a seat belt is one of the quickest, simplest and most effective ways to ensure you and your loved ones remain safe and sound on the road.”
In 2016, across Stanislaus County, 16 vehicle collision fatalities occurred where either a driver or passenger were unrestrained. Statewide, 426 individuals were found to be unrestrained at the time of the collision. It is estimated that 74 would have survived had they simply buckled up.
“If you know a friend or a family member who does not buckle up when they drive, please ask them to consider changing their habits,” said Chief Heller. “Help us spread this life-saving message before one more friend or family member is killed as a result of this senseless inaction. Seat belts save lives, and everyone – child and adult – needs to remember to buckle up, every trip, every time.”
This enforcement effort is funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.