|CHARLESTON, WV – The West Virginia Governor’s Highway Safety Program (GHSP) is working with local law enforcement statewide to encourage drivers on West Virginia roads to buckle up during the statewide Click It or Ticket high-visibility enforcement mobilization that runs from October 6-22, 2023. This mobilization is part of the GHSP’s continual efforts to increase seat belt usage in West Virginia. This mobilization also runs in conjunction with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Region 3 regional mobilization, Operation Crash Reduction, running from October 6-9, 2023.|
Operation Crash Reduction and the October Click It or Ticket are conducted during Columbus Day weekend, as historically, it is one of the deadliest holiday weekends for fatal crashes in NHTSA Region 3. Region 3 includes Delaware, the District of Columbia, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.
“We want all drivers and passengers traveling in West Virginia to be safe on the roadways and to always wear their seat belt,” said Gov. Jim Justice.
From 2011 to 2020, October was the most dangerous month on West Virginia’s roads, with a total of 309 traffic fatalities during that time period. In 2021, 40 percent of all passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in West Virginia were unrestrained. To help save lives, we need to step up seat belt enforcement, day and night.
“As we continue to work to spread lifesaving seat belt messaging, we ask that every driver and passenger take responsibility when they are driving or riding in vehicles. Too many people die on our roads because they were not buckled or not buckled correctly,” said GHSP Occupant Protection Program Coordinator Amy Boggs.
Law enforcement officers across West Virginia will be out in full force, ticketing drivers who are caught traveling without a correctly buckled seat belt or transporting unrestrained children. This statewide seat belt campaign is aimed at enforcing seat belt use to help keep all vehicle occupants safe.
“At the current statewide seat belt usage rate of 92.5 percent, unbuckled drivers or passengers have a 20.10 times higher likelihood of being killed if they are in a crash. The reality is: seat belts save lives. Not buckling up is not worth the risk. Click It. Don’t Risk It,” concluded Boggs.
Wearing your seat belt is required by law, but don’t just buckle up to avoid a ticket. The values of our families’ and friends’ lives in West Virginia are incalculable. The $25 violators pay if ticketed pales in comparison to the lives of the people we love most. If you are caught driving while unbuckled and you get a ticket, look at it as your wakeup call. A ticket is far less expensive than paying with your life or the lives of your family and friends.
For more information about the West Virginia Governor’s Highway Safety Program, visit highwaysafety.wv.gov or call 304-926-2509.