Annual traffic safety program starts

It's that time of year again, when thoughts turn to turkey, dressing and seat belt safety.

Georgia State Patrol troopers have hit the roads for the department's annual Operation Click It or Ticket program to promote to use of seat belts and child safety seats.

Georgia law requires that adults 18 and older must wear safety belts while driving, or while riding in the front seat of passenger vehicles and pickup trucks, including sport utility vehicles. Col. Mark McDonough, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, said the crackdown on drivers is done to save lives.

“An unrestrained driver and unrestrained passengers are more likely to be seriously injured or killed when a traffic crash occurs,” he said. “Making sure adults and children are properly restrained will reduce the number of traffic deaths on our roads.”

The two-week enforcement wave began Monday and ends Sunday, Nov. 27. Law enforcement officers across the United States will be concentrating on seat belt and child restraint violations, during patrols. Children 8-17 must be restrained by a safety belt at all times, and children under 8 must be restrained in a child safety seat or booster seat in the rear seat of vehicles.

“Make sure everyone is buckled up, and take the time to properly restrain children in your vehicle before the trip begins,” McDonough said. “It is important for adults to take the time to read child safety seat instruction manuals to make sure the proper child seat is installed in their vehicle correctly.”

In addition to occupant protection violations, Operation Click It or Ticket patrols in the past years have resulted in the arrests of drivers operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or operating a vehicle without insurance. Other violations have included reckless driving, speeding, driving on a suspended license, and operating vehicles with expired registrations.

With the holidays approaching, McDonough urges all drivers to use extra caution as they drive, and to remember to always buckle up, avoid distractions inside the vehicle, be aware of the posted speed limit, and don’t drive after drinking alcoholic beverages.

Operation Click It or Ticket is a nationwide mobilization of law enforcement to enforce safety belt and child restraint laws to boost safety on the nation’s roads.

In Georgia, Operation Click It or Ticket is coordinated by the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.

For more information on Georgia’s occupant protection laws, visit the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety web site at www.gahighwaysafety.org/ChildPassengerc3.pdf.