PARKERSBURG - The 2012 national Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement begins Monday to help save lives by cracking down on those who don't buckle up.
Agencies within the Mid-Ohio Valley are joining with other state and local law enforcement officers and highway safety advocates across the country to help save more lives by strongly enforcing seat belt laws around the clock, said Toni Tiano with the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Highway Safety Program.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nationally in 2010, 61 percent of the 10,647 passenger vehicle occupants who were killed in traffic crashes at night were not wearing seatbelts, compared to 42 percent during the daytime hours.
"Too many drivers and passengers on the road at night are not wearing their seatbelts and it all too often ends in tragedy," Tiano said. "Our goal is to save more lives, so law enforcement agencies will be out enforcing seatbelt laws around the clock."
Among the regional participants are the Wood County Sheriff's Department and the Parkersburg Police Department.
"We feel it is a very good program," Sheriff Jeff Sandy said. "It's a no brainer. Seat belts save lives."
The sheriff's department will emphasize school zones in the county, Sandy said. In school zones in Mineral Wells and Lubeck, for example, there is a problem with speeders, he said.
Sgt. Brett Pickens coordinates the program at the sheriff's department.
The police department will have six to eight additional officers whose sole responsibility will be traffic enforcement, said Capt. Delmas Barker.
Also participating are West Virginia State Police, the Vienna Police Department, the Jackson County Sheriff's, the St. Marys Police Department, the Ripley Police Department, the Roane County Sheriff's Department, the West Union Police Department and the Harrisville Police Department.
The Click It or Ticket enforcement mobilization runs through June 3..
"Those who choose not to wear a seat belt will feel the heat from officers who will be out cracking down on Click It or Ticket violators. Motorists should buckle up every time they go out, both day and night," said Tiano. "Officers are prepared to ticket anyone not buckled up, no warnings and no excuses. Click It or Ticket."