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Agencies team up for Click It or Ticket seat belt crackdown

by From Staff Reports | November 21, 2021 at 4:00 a.m.

Beginning Monday, Garland County sheriff's deputies, Hot Springs police officers and Arkansas State Police will be part of a joint enforcement effort of Arkansas' seat belt laws to increase safety over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Together with the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the agencies will participate in a Click It or Ticket seat belt awareness campaign "designed to remind drivers and vehicle passengers that using their seat belts will reduce the risk of injury or death on Arkansas roads," state police said in a news release.

Through Sunday, Nov. 28, "the law enforcement community will be working together to reduce the number of fatalities that occur when vehicle passengers fail to buckle up. If they spot you, they will pull you over and issue a ticket," the sheriff's office said in a release.

"Our law enforcement community sees the effects of unbuckled driving every day, and we see the preventable tragedy it creates for so many loved ones left behind," Deputy Courtney Kizer, the sheriff's office public information officer, said in the release.

"Whether you're driving cross-country or across the street, you must wear your seat belt. The bottom line is this: That seat belt may very well mean the difference between life and death. This Thanksgiving, and every day of the year, remember: Click It or Ticket," Officer 1st Class Omar Cervantes, the police department's public information officer, said in a release.

"State troopers and other law enforcement officers too often are left to witness the tragic consequences when someone has chosen to ignore the most basic form of protecting themselves, a seat belt, as they travel the highway," Col. Bill Bryant, director of the Arkansas State Police and the Governor's Highway Safety representative, said in the release.

During the 2019 Thanksgiving holiday weekend, from 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 27, through 5:59 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 2, there were 279 passenger vehicle occupants killed in traffic crashes across the nation. More than half, or 54%, were unrestrained. Nighttime was more deadly, with 52% of Thanksgiving weekend crashes occurring at night, the release said.

"These deaths represent needless tragedies for families across the nation," Bryant said. "Using a seat belt could mean the difference between life and death this Thanksgiving holiday and every day."

The Click It or Ticket campaign is designed to save lives by ensuring all Arkansas drivers and passengers get the message to wear their seat belts. The campaign combines powerful messages about seat belt safety combined with an emphasis through increased patrols by law enforcement officers looking for unbuckled motorists.

For more information about traveling safely this Thanksgiving, visit http://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/seat-belts or call the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at 501-618-8136.

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