May is National Click it or Ticket month and the California Office of Traffic Safety reminds you about the importance of buckling up when you hit the road.
Taking a couple of seconds to buckle your seat belt will not only save you the trouble and hassle of a ticket and the fine that comes along with it, but more importantly, it could save your life and the lives of your loved ones. Seat belts account for saving more lives than any other countermeasure.
Since the debut of California’s Click it or Ticket campaign in 2005, the state’s seat belt use rate has increased from 92.5 percent in 2005 to a record high of 96.6 percent in 2011, which is much higher than the national average of 85 percent. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration estimates that the lives of 1,243 Californians were saved as a result of the current seat belt use rate. However, there is still work to be done to continue to promote seat belt use, since over a million Californians are still not regularly using them. During May’s annual Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement campaign, law enforcement throughout California will be issuing citations to drivers and passengers who are caught not wearing a seat belt. Officers will be on the lookout for seat belt violations – day and night.
Being properly restrained by a safety belt means that the lower (lap) portion of the belt crosses the hips or upper thighs of the occupant and the upper (shoulder) portion of the belt, if present, crosses the chest in front of the occupant. It is important that everyone in the vehicle, especially children, is properly restrained by a safety belt at all times when the vehicle is moving. There are various laws to protect children in a vehicle as they grow. According to California law, children under the age of eight or until they are at least 4’9” must be secured in the back seat in an appropriate car seat or booster seat.
Your child may ride in the front seat if:
Your vehicle has no rear seats.
Rear seats are side-facing jump seats. Child safety restraints must never be placed on side-facing vehicle seats.
The child restraint system cannot be properly installed in the rear seat. For example, your vehicle has lap belts only in the back seat, but there are lap and shoulder belts in the front seat.
Your child is five and weighs 45 pounds and must ride in a booster seat. The booster seat must be used with a lap and shoulder belt; therefore your child may ride in the front seat.
Children under age 12 occupy all rear seats.
Medical reason (written by the pediatrician) requires that child not be restrained in the back seat. All children are safer in the back seat, ask another adult to ride with the child in the back.
The minimum ticket cost for an adult seat belt violation in California is $142 and up, and the minimum cost for not properly restraining a child under 16 is $474. If the parent is not in the car, the driver gets the ticket.
Click It or Ticket is a cooperative effort among the five traffic safety-related departments under the California’s Business, Transportation and Housing Agency: the California Office of Traffic Safety, California Highway Patrol, Department of Transportation, Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, and the Department of Motor Vehicles. OTS wants to remind patrons to buckle up and set the example for the younger passengers in the vehicle. For more information, visit www.ots.ca.gov.