Annual ‘Click It or Ticket’ campaign returns to increase Virginia seat belt use

Published: May. 22, 2023 at 11:04 AM EDT
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BLUEFIELD, Va. (WVVA) -The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and AAA Mid-Atlantic is partnering with Virginia first responders, local law enforcement, and Virginia State Police to focus on increasing seat belt use throughout the state by participating in the national Click It or Ticket campaign through June 4.

The Memorial Day holiday is one of the year’s busiest and deadliest travel weekends, which is why this annual campaign runs during it.

AAA is predicting more than 42 million people will be traveling nationwide for the long Memorial Day weekend. That’s just 1% shy of the holiday travel numbers from the pre-pandemic days of 2019. Nearly 90% of all travelers, or about 37 million people, will be on the roads. Here in the Commonwealth, 1.16 million Virginians will be traveling, with more than one million of them predicted to be hitting the roads.

“The roads of Virginia will be very busy this weekend with holiday travelers, and that means there’s a greater potential for crashes,” says Morgan Dean, AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesperson. “We want everyone to be safe. We encourage drivers to limit distractions, obey the speed limit, and make sure they buckle up everyone in the vehicle before they set out on that Great American Road Trip.”

According to a release from the DMV, they learned in Virginia’s most recent seat belt survey that more than 18 percent of Virginians don’t wear seat belts, and in this state alone, there were 5,427 unrestrained people involved in crashes, 3,702 unrestrained injuries, and 375 deaths involving unrestrained people.

Last year, approximately one of every two crash fatalities in Virginia involved occupants who did not wear a seat belt. People aged 21-30 made up 68% of unrestrained fatalities and the highest number of unrestrained fatalities happened between midnight and 3 a.m. (70%).

“These numbers mean thousands of Virginians still choose not to make the simple, safe choice of buckling up as their best defense against a reckless, impaired or distracted driver,” says DMV Commissioner Gerald Lackey, the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative. “By participating in Click It or Ticket, we are raising awareness and educating Virginians on the importance of always wearing a seat belt, every time.”

Law enforcement will be very active on busy roads and highways in support of the campaign.

“Buckling up is not merely a legal obligation,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Wearing a seat belt is an act of self-preservation. Moreover, the impact of wearing seat belts extends beyond our own lives. It sets an example for others, especially our young people who are observing our behaviors and learning from our actions. Simply click it and avoid the ticket.”

“Speeding is one of top traffic complaints Henrico Police receives, and oftentimes it leads to deadly consequences when our drivers and passengers are not properly restrained,” said Henrico County Chief of Police Eric D. English. “In 2022, the metro-Richmond area saw 55 fatal crashes where occupants were not wearing seat belts. To remedy this trend, it takes not only police enforcement, but an overall community effort.”

“DMV partners with law enforcement agencies, nonprofits and other highway safety advocates to change behaviors and prevent needless tragedies from happening on Virginia’s roadways,” said DMV Highway Safety Office Director John Saunders. “Buckling up is the one lifesaving action you can take to significantly increase your odds of surviving a crash. Your life matters. Please make it click and remind your loved ones to do the same.”