GAINESVILLE - Motorists who refuse, or sometimes forget, to wear their safety belt will need to be extra vigilant starting Monday. That's when the Governor's Office of Highway Safety (GOHS) launches its annual May "Click It or Ticket" campaign.
All motorists can expect a ticket if they don't "click it' because hundreds of law enforcement agencies across the state - including Gainesville Police - will be partnering with GOHS to crackdown on anyone who doesn't buckle up.
Nighttime, a particular mode of transportation and certain areas of the country seem more susceptible to unbelted fatalities. They are still happening in disproportionate numbers at night, in pickups and in rural counties, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
NHTSA says 61 percent of the 10,647 people killed in motor vehicle crashes between 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. across the country in previous years were not wearing their seatbelt. That is compared to 42 percent during daytime hours.
In Georgia's rural counties, 60 percent of traffic fatality victims were unrestrained. Additionally, pickup truck occupants in Georgia have the lowest seatbelt usage rate behind cars, SUV's and vans.
Sgt. Dean Staples, who oversees the Gainesville Police Department Traffic Unit, says "there's no argument that seatbelts save lives and the statistics prove it. The numbers are staggering: (in) over 51 percent of fatalities in recent years...the occupants were not wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash."
The "Click It or Ticket" campaign in Georgia will run from May 19-June 1.