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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • ASP to crack down on seat belt violators during Thanksgiving week

  • Arkansas State Police will be cracking down on seat belt violators during the hectic Thanksgiving holiday week, according to ASP Director Col. Stan Witt.
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  • Arkansas State Police will be cracking down on seat belt violators during the hectic Thanksgiving holiday week, according to ASP Director Col. Stan Witt. As of Monday, state troopers will join other state and local law enforcement officers in the nationwide “Click it or Ticket” campaign. The purpose of the campaign, says Witt, is to ensure that motorists obey the rules of the road and motorists are buckled-up in their seatbelts as they travel the state and national highways this holiday season. The campaign will continue through Nov. 25. Motor vehicle crashes accounted for 337 passenger vehicle occupants nationwide being killed during the 2010 Thanksgiving holiday reporting period. A staggering 55 percent of the fatalities were not wearing seat belts at the time of the crash. The figure for Arkansas during the same reporting period was 7 killed. Fifty-seven percent of those victims were not wearing seat belts. “Seat belts save lives and that's why State Troopers and local law enforcement officers across Arkansas will participate in the national “Click It or Ticket Day and Night Mobilization,” stated Witt in a press release. According to Witt, the ASP will place additional troopers on the state's highways during this Thanksgiving period, which is ranked one of the busiest traveling holiday seasons of the year. During 2010 (the latest data available from the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) seat belts saved more than 12,500 lives. Research shows that the risk of fatal injury to front seat passengers passenger car occupants is reduced by 45 percent. The risk of moderate to serious injury is cut by 50 percent when seat belts are correctly used. “Buckling up is simple and it's a proven life saver, but it's often forgotten during the hustle and bustle of holiday travel, particularly at nighttime,” said Witt. The trend shows that nighttime fatalities of unbelted passengers are higher than those in the daytime. In 2010, Thanksgiving holiday weekend fatalities, 64 percent of nighttime fatalities were not using seat belts as compared to 41 percent of fatalities in the daytime. “It's unfortunate that too many people need a tough reminder in the form of a traffic ticket,” said Witt. “Taking a few seconds for everyone in a vehicle to fasten their seat belt can make a life or death difference.” The ASP urges drivers to practice safe driving habits year round by buckling up before leaving the driveway. For more information about the Click It or Ticket campaign, visit www.TrafficSafetyMarketing.gov. or call the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136.

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