More Enforcement and Awareness are the Focuses of Annual Mobilization
In an effort to save lives through increased seat belt use, DMV joins with Virginia’s local law enforcement and state police to participate in the national Click It or Ticket campaign through June 5, 2022. The campaign is held annually in advance of and including the Memorial Day holiday, one of the busiest – and deadliest – travel weekends of the year.
Virginia seat belt use rate is 81.7%, according to the most recent statewide seat belt survey conducted in 2021, compared to the national average of 89.7%. Last year in Virginia, there were 5,583 crashes involving unrestrained people, 3,854 unrestrained injuries and 334 deaths involving unrestrained people.
“These facts gravely highlight the need for increased awareness of seat belt use,” said Acting DMV Commissioner Linda Ford, the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative. “DMV and our safety partners continue to publicize messages about the importance of seat belt use throughout the year, but especially during our annual Click It or Ticket campaign.”
Law enforcement will support DMV’s seat belt awareness messaging by conducting saturation patrols and high-visibility enforcement along busy roads and highways, and specifically along the Route 60 corridor, working to save lives.
“Time after time, we see the deadly results that come from drivers and passengers refusing to wear a seat belt,” said DMV Highway Safety Office Director John Saunders. “Buckling up is one of the most important steps in increasing survivability in a crash. Each one of those 334 people who died last year in unbelted crashes was someone’s mother, someone’s father, a sister or someone’s best friend, and preventing those needless tragedies from continuing to occur is our top priority.”
Last year in the Commonwealth, approximately one of every two motor vehicle fatalities (48%) involved occupants who were not wearing safety restraints. The 21-to-35 age group accounted for 32% of the unrestrained fatalities, and the highest number of unrestrained fatalities (51%) occurred between 6 p.m. and 3 a.m.
“These numbers tell us that half of our Commonwealth’s fatalities last year involved people not wearing seat belts and dying on our roadways,” said Capt. John Miller from Chesterfield County Police Department. “We want to do everything we can to reach unrestrained people and save their lives. Click It or Ticket works to change the behavior of those who are not buckled up, and to keep them from repeating this potentially deadly mistake.”
According to AAA Mid-Atlantic, the roads will be very busy this Memorial Day weekend. Despite record-setting gas prices, the auto club predicts nearly one million Virginians will be hitting the road for the holiday. That’s up nearly 5% from last year and represents more than 40,000 more travelers on the road for the holiday this year.
“Buckling up is among the most important things you can do to protect yourself and others in a vehicle,” said AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesperson Morgan Dean. “Modern cars are loaded with safety features that weren’t available just a few years ago. Those systems work in conjunction with a seat belt. That’s why it’s so important to buckle up, everyone, every time.”