With Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of the summer travel season, less than two weeks away, the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) encourage drivers to be safe on the roads. The agencies will work with municipal police departments and other safety partners across the commonwealth to participate in the national “Click It or Ticket” seat belt enforcement and education initiative from May 13 through June 2, 2019.
“‘Click it or Ticket’ isn’t about citations, it’s about saving lives,” said PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards. “Wearing a seat belt increases your chances of surviving a crash by up to 60 percent. Through continued enforcement and education, we hope to see more people buckling up and fewer fatal crashes on Pennsylvania’s roads.”
Pennsylvania law requires any occupant younger than 18 to buckle up when riding in a vehicle, as well as drivers and front-seat passengers. Children under the age of two must be secured in a rear-facing car seat, and children under the age of four must be restrained in an approved child safety seat. Children must ride in a booster seat until their eighth birthday.
In addition to adopting a zero-tolerance approach toward violators, troopers certified as child passenger safety technicians will offer car seat fittings and inspections throughout Pennsylvania, helping ensure that car seats are in good working condition, installed properly, and free from recalls.
“State police child passenger safety technicians completed nearly 500 no-cost car seat checks during the 2018 ‘Click it or Ticket’ mobilization,” said Major James Basinger, director of the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Patrol. “By hosting dozens of events across the commonwealth, we hope everyone who drives with children in the car will take advantage of this resource to keep their youngest passengers safe while traveling.”
A complete list of child passenger seat fitting stations is available at www.psp.pa.gov.
As part of the enforcement efforts, state police, along with agencies across the United States, will participate in a Border-to-Border initiative to provide increased seat belt enforcement at state borders, reinforcing the states’ focus on safety.
Preliminary PennDOT data shows that 399 people were killed in unrestrained crashes in 2018, 21 more than in 2017. Crash data for 2018 is not yet available, but in 2017 there were 14,309 unrestrained crashes in Pennsylvania, a decrease from 14,992 crashes in 2016. From 2013 through 2017, there was an average of 14,180 unrestrained crashes and more than 400 fatalities.
The efforts of PennDOT and PSP are supported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration with national advertising across TV, radio, internet, and social media. The ads, airing in English and Spanish, are designed to generate awareness of stepped-up enforcement of seat belt laws and the increased chance of getting a ticket if you’re not buckled up.
For more information on seat belt safety visit, www.PennDOT.gov/Safety.