Hawaii Police Department
Traffic Services Section
Sergeant Kelly Kaaumoana-Matsumoto
May 9, 2008
Big Island Police are warning residents that the annual "Click It or Ticket" campaign for 2008 is on its way. Sergeant Kelly Kaaumoana-Matsumoto, head of the Traffic Services Section, said roving patrols and seat belt enforcement checkpoints will be set up throughout the Big Island. Message boards will also be set up along Big Island highways. The effort is part of a national and statewide campaign urging awareness and the use of seat belt. "Although this campaign is from May 12 to June 1, 2008, seat belt and child restraint citations are issued year round," Kaaumoana-Matsumoto said.
Hawaii Law requires all front seat occupants to buckle up and requires seat belts for back seat passengers under 18. The fine for not wearing a seat belt is $92.
Police will also enforce child passenger restraint laws and will ticket drivers if children under the age of four are not properly restrained in a child safety seat, or in a booster seat until age seven. Child restraint and booster seat violators must go to court and face a fine between $100-$500 and attend a mandatory four-hour class.
National statistics have shown that the use of seat belts is the single most effective step drivers and passengers can take to protect themselves in a traffic crash.
According to last year’s statewide survey, Hawaii County’s seat belt usage rate was 94.2 percent, slightly lower than the statewide average. The same survey found that infant and toddler restraint use was at 85.9 percent and 49.6 percent, respectively, for Hawaii County.
In 2007, Hawaii County had 33 fatal traffic accidents, resulting in 37 deaths. Twenty-seven of those occupants were not restrained. "Research has shown that safety belts when used correctly, reduce the risk of moderate-to-critical injury by 50 percent," noted Kaaumoana-Matsumoto. "At least half of those lives could have been saved. We need the public’s help."