If you don’t click it, expect a ticket during national safety campaign

Local drivers may want to be extra-conscientious about using their seat belts and infant seats the next few weeks.

The New Albany Police Department is participating in the national “Click It or Ticket” driver safety campaign.

Tiffany Gates, who obtains and administers the grants, said the department again has received occupant protection safety funds to help pay for officers’ overtime during the seat belt campaign.

“Click It or Ticket” will officially run from May 19 through June 1 and Gates said drivers can expect safety checkpoints both during the day and at night. The program will include the Memorial Day weekend May 23-26.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, men ages 18 to 34 are least likely to use seat belts. They say 62 percent of 18- to 34-year-old passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes were not wearing their seat belts.

The NHTSA also says that in 2012 seat belts saved an estimated 12,174 people from dying. In 2012, 3,031 additional lives could have been saved if all unrestrained passenger vehicle occupants five and older involved in fatal crashes had worn their seat belts.

Sixty-six percent of pickup truck occupants who were killed were not buckled up, according to their statistics. That’s compared to 45 percent of car occupants who were killed while not wearing their seat belts.

More men than women are likely to die every year in motor vehicle traffic crashes. In 2012, 65 percent of the 21,667 passenger vehicle occupants killed were men. Men also wore their seat belts less than women in fatal crashes – 56 percent of men were unrestrained, compared to 43 percent for women.

And night appears to be the most dangerous time for unbelted motorists. In 2012, 61 percent of passenger vehicle occupants killed at night (6 p.m. – 5:59 a.m.) were not wearing their seat belts.