Click It or Ticket!

BINGHAMTON, NY - According to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, failure to wear a safety belt is the most prevalent factor associated with traffic fatalities. New York State law says that all occupants in the front seat regardless of age must be properly buckled as well as all back seat passengers under the age of 16. Children 6 and under must be properly restrained in an appropriate child restraint system, one that meets the child's height and weight requirements. Regardless of these laws many New Yorker’s still refuse to buckle up.

Buckle Up New York (BUNY), Click It or Ticket is a statewide, zero tolerance enforcement campaign that is designed to increase safety restraint use in New York and prevent highway fatalities and injuries caused by unrestrained vehicle occupants.

Broome County has six police departments that participate in the BUNY grant program: Binghamton, Johnson City, Port Dickinson, Endicott, Vestal and the Sheriff’s Department. These agencies conduct checkpoints during November and May to meet statewide initiatives. According to Officer Eric Zenzel of the Johnson City Police Department, officers in vehicles are stationed to observe approaching traffic. If an officer observes an unbuckled occupant, they will call out to the checkpoint and the violator will be issued a ticket. In addition to checkpoints, officers do roving patrols enforcing the occupant restraint laws. In 2005, a total of 6,055 seatbelt tickets were issued between these six police agencies as a result from the Buckle Up New York enforcement waves. Currently about 85% of New Yorkers buckle up every time. While this is higher than the national average, the "Click It or Ticket" campaign is intended to increase that use rate to at least 90%.

So why should we care? Restraint use is everyone’s problem. According to the New York State Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, inpatient hospital costs for unbelted crash victims are 50% higher than those for belted victims. Society pays 85% of those costs, not the crash victims.

Not to mention unbuckled occupants are our greatest killer in New York State. It is estimated that between 30% and 40% of highway deaths involve motorists who were not using seatbelts. This is a higher percentage than deaths involving alcohol or speed. Wearing a seatbelt properly can keep you from being ejected out of the car when involved in a crash reducing the chance of serious injury or death. Seatbelts also help absorb the crash forces by putting the stress from the impact on the strongest parts of your body, your shoulders and hips. This reduces your risk of major damage to your internal organs.

Let’s do our best and save a life. Wear a seatbelt. It’s the law!