Click It or Ticket campaign under way 05-31-06

HAWAII POLICE DEPARTMENT
TRAFFIC SERVICES SECTION
SERGEANT DEXTER VERIATO
PHONE: 961-2305
MAY 31, 2006

MEDIA RELEASE

The annual “click It or Ticket” campaign for 2006 is well under way. It runs from May 15 through June 3.

Hawaii law requires all front seat occupants to buckle up and requires seat belts for back seat passengers under 18. During the Click It or Ticket campaign, officers will make an extra effort to enforce that law. The fine for not wearing a seat belt is $92.

Sergeant Dexter Veriato, head of the Hawaii Police Department’s Traffic Services Section, said police have set up roving patrols and seat belt enforcement checkpoints throughout the Big Island. The effort is part of both national and statewide campaigns, he said.

Officers will focus on groups that traditionally have the lowest compliance rate. Those are 18-25 year olds and drivers of pickup trucks. Police will also enforce child passenger restraint laws and ticket drivers if children under age 4 are not properly restrained in a child safety seat.

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.

Although Hawaii’s rate of seat belt use is the highest in the nation, Veriato noted that an estimated 19 people who died in traffic accidents statewide last year could have been saved by wearing seat belts. “Sadly, 42 percent of those traffic deaths came from the Big Island,” he said. “Those numbers are just too high.”

At the conclusion of the Click It or Ticket campaign, researchers for the state Department of Transportation will monitor drivers from the side of highways to conduct the annual seat belt use survey from June 7 through June 10. To increase visibility, they will wear safety helmets and vests. They have orders not to obstruct traffic flow.

In last year’s survey, Hawaii County’s seat belt compliance rate was 94.9 percent. That figure was down from 96.1 percent a year earlier. “We are taking those results very seriously,” Veriato said. “We need the public’s help in saving lives.”

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