SALINAS, Calif. - According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were more than 22,000 fatal car accidents in 2015, and nearly half of them involved passengers who were not wearing a seat belt.
“Click it or ticket,” that is what the Salinas Police Department and the California Office of Traffic Safety said will happen if drivers and passengers don’t wear a seat belt.
The national seat belt campaign will take place May 22 through June 4. In Salinas, a seat belt violation costs $162, and a fine for not restraining a child is $465.
"Salinas police officers see firsthand the tragedies caused when people refuse to buckle up," said Sergeant Gerry Ross of the Salinas Police Department. "It's an easy thing to do if you just make it a habit. Buckling up should be the first thing you do after sitting in the car." The department said officers will look for people not wearing a seat belt and write them up.
Law enforcement officials said historically there are more traffic accidents Memorial Day weekend. "We want everyone to stay safe. The one thing you can do to save yourself and your passengers in a crash is to buckle up and make sure your passengers buckle up. There are still hundreds of thousands of Californians who don't heed the dangers of unrestrained driving. The goal of the campaign is to wake these people up and get them to buckle up."
In 2015, 545 Californians died in a car accident and were not buckled up. For females killed in crashes in 2015, 42 percent were not buckled up, while 52 percent of the males killed that year were unrestrained.
"Please. We need you to help us spread this message before another friend or family member is killed or crippled as a result of this senseless inaction," asked Sergeant Ross. "Seat belts save lives, and everyone needs to remember to buckle up, every trip, every time."