"Click It or Ticket" 05-12-09

Hawai’i Police Department
Traffic Services Section
Sergeant Kelly Ka’aumoana-Matsumoto
Phone: 961-2305
May 12, 2009

Media Release

Big Island Police are informing motorists that the annual “Click It or Ticket” Campaign for 2009 is on its way. Sergeant Kelly Ka’aumoana-Matsumoto, head of the Traffic Services Section, said roving patrols and seat belt enforcement checkpoints will be set up throughout the Big Island. The effort is part of a national and statewide campaign urging awareness and the use of seat belts. “Although this campaign is from May 18 to May 31, 2009, seat belt and child restraint citations are issued year round,” Ka’aumoana-Matsumoto said.

Hawai’i Law requires those riding in the front seat to use their seat belts, and those 17 and under are required to use their seat belts in the back seat.

Police will 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 of 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 taken in June 2008, Hawai’i County’s seat belt usage rate was at 97.4 percent, with the statewide usage at 97.01 percent. The same survey found that infant and toddler restraint use was at 94.64 percent and 65.25 percent, respectively, for Hawai’i County.

In 2009, Hawai’i County had 27 fatal traffic accidents, resulting in 27 deaths. Twelve 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.” “We need to get the message out, on the importance of seat belt, child safety seats and booster seat usage,” noted Ka’aumoana-Matsumoto.

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