While Memorial Day may be just around the corner, it is not the only event going on near the end of the month of May. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) has announced its annual “Click It or Ticket” campaign which is slated to run this year from May 23rd through June 5th. The purpose of the campaign is to urge both drivers and passengers across the country to buckle up. Law enforcement officials in every state will be looking for drivers who are not wearing their seat belts in accordance with local laws.
Under Oklahoma law, a police officer can stop a driver for not wearing a seat belt—no other reason is necessary. In Oklahoma the laws pertaining to seat belt usage require drivers and front seat passengers ages 13 and older to wear a seat belt at all times while the vehicle in which they are riding is operating. Children under the age of 13 are covered under the Oklahoma Mandatory Child Restraint Law. During the “Click It or Ticket” campaign police are encouraged to stop and issue a ticket to any motorist who is not wearing a seat belt.
While seat belts use in the United States is fairly high—at just about 88 percent in 2014, there is still a lot of room for improvement. The reason being is that in 2014, almost 50 percent of all vehicle occupants killed in crashes were not wearing their safety belts. Groups of drivers that were more likely to not to wear seat belts, according to the NHTSA data included:
- Nighttime drivers: The data collected showed that 57 percent of occupants killed in nighttime crashes were not properly restrained compared to 41 percent of those killed during the day.
- Men: Of the people killed in crashes who were not wearing a seat belt, 53 percent were men and 40 percent were women.
- Pickup Truck Drivers: In 2014, 60 percent of pickup truck drivers killed in crashes were not properly restrained compared to 42 percent of passenger car drivers and 38 percent of van drivers.
As a driver, it is important to realize the vital role you can play in increasing seat belt compliance. For instance, in any vehicle you are driving, make it a rule that the car will not start until everyone is wearing their seat belt. It is important to enforce the rule regardless of whether it is a long or short trip, whether it is nighttime or daytime, whether you will be on the freeway or on city streets, or whether you will be driving in an urban or in a more rural area. It must be understood that seatbelts must be worn each and every time a person gets into your vehicle. Because the fact of the matter is that seat belts save lives. In 2014 alone, it is estimated that seat belt usage saved more than 12,800 lives. A total of 63,000 lives are thought to be saved by seat belt usage from 2010 to 2014.
If you or a loved one was seriously injured after being involved in an auto accident, it is important to contact a skilled Oklahoma Personal Injury Attorney as soon as possible. Only an experienced Injury Attorney can fully investigate the facts of your case and fight for your rights. The Oklahoma Injury Attorneys at The Handley Law Center are dedicated advocates who understand the devastating impact an accident can have on a victim and their family. You can trust our team of experienced injury attorneys to obtain just compensation for your injuries. To schedule a free and completely confidential consultation with one of our qualified injury attorneys, contact The Handley Law Center today at (405) 295-1924.