Warwick Police have joined local and national law enforcement officers and highway safety advocates all across the country for the 2012 national Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement mobilization, now through March 24.
During the mobilization, officers are ticketing motorists who fail to wear their seat belts day and night.
“It’s not about writing tickets. It’s about saving lives,” Lt. Michael Gilbert, head of the Warwick department’s Community Services Division, said yesterday.
Gilbert said the campaign is being made possible with a $16,000 grant that has been used to underwrite several safety campaigns at different times of the year.
He said Rhode Island is helping to save more lives by strongly enforcing seat belt laws around the clock, but especially at night. Forty-five percent of Rhode Islanders killed in traffic crashes from 2007 to 2009 were killed during the hours of 6 p.m. to midnight.
Nationally, 61 percent of the 10,647 passenger vehicle occupants killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes at night (6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m.) were not wearing their seat belts at the time of the fatal crash, he reported.
“Many more nighttime traffic deaths can be prevented if more motorists simply start wearing their seat belts. That’s why the Warwick Police Department is strongly supporting enhanced nighttime enforcement of seat belt laws during the March 14th to 24th, Click It or Ticket campaign,” said Gilbert. “We will be out in force to remind drivers and occupants to always wear their seat belts – both day and night.”
Failure to wear a seatbelt, and that goes for passengers too, carries an $85 fine.