By Mehgaan Jones
The Governor's Office of Highway Safety (GOHS) has announced the start of the "Click It or Ticket" safety belt enforcement campaign for the Thanksgiving holiday.
The campaign began on Nov. 15, and runs through the Thanksgiving holiday travel period ending Nov. 28, according to GOHS officials, in a recent statement.
"More than 500 local law enforcement agencies statewide, and the Georgia State Patrol (GSP), will be participating in the November 2010 "Click It or Ticket" mobilization," the GOHS news release emphasized.
According to Jim Shuler, GOHS director of public affairs, more than half of Georgians killed in car crashes in 2008 were not wearing safety belts. He added that seat belts reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat occupants, in passenger cars, by 45 percent, and by 60 percent, in pick-up trucks, SUV's and minivans.
During last year's 102-hour Thanksgiving travel period, the Georgia State Patrol reported 3,089 crashes, 730 injuries and 12 fatalities.
"Regular seat belt use is the single most effective way to protect motorists and reduce fatalities in vehicle crashes," said Bob Dallas, director of the Governor's Office of Highway Safety. "There were 213 fewer lives lost in highway crashes here in 2009 than during the previous year ," Dallas added.
According to Shuler, during this holiday travel period, police will use concentrated patrols and safety belt road checks to continue to push aggressively for seat belt compliance for the 10 percent of Georgians who do not buckle up.
The agency's news advisory said that Georgia's primary seat belt law authorizes traffic enforcement officers to write seat belt tickets whenever they observe drivers or passengers who are unbelted.
"Georgia's high profile seat belt patrols and road checks are having a measurable effect on safety belt use," said Bob Dallas.
"Taking two seconds to buckle up can save your life, or the life of a loved one. It's still your best defense against a crash with a drunk driver this holiday."
For more information on the Georgia "Click It or Ticket" enforcement campaign, and other life-saving highway safety initiatives, visit www.gahighwaysafety.org.