The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office will join thousands of law enforcement agencies for this year’s Click It or Ticket seat belt campaign, one of the nation’s most important highway safety efforts. From Monday, May 24 through Sunday, June 6, Columbia County will join officers statewide and nationwide, to patrol for longer hours to reinforce one safety message – BUCKLE UP.

Despite advances in vehicle technologies, wearing a seat belt remains the most important and effective step motorists can take to prevent being injured or killed in a traffic crash. Simple actions such as buckling up, watching your speed and driving alert will help prevent many crashes and injuries. Airbags are an important safety enhancement, but only seat belts can prevent motorists from being ejected or thrown around inside a vehicle during a crash.

Currently, 89% of Wisconsin motorists wear safety belts. The 11% who fail to buckle up accounted for 43% of all the drivers and passengers killed in Wisconsin traffic crashes in 2020.

Wisconsin’s primary seat belt law, in place since 2009, allows law enforcement to stop and cite motorists for failing to wear a seat belt. Drivers can also be cited for every unbuckled passenger in their vehicle. Penalties are higher for transporting unrestrained children. Failure to fasten a seat belt is among the most common traffic violations in Wisconsin, resulting in more than 27,000 traffic convictions last year.

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2019, 55% of passenger vehicle occupants killed at night (6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m.) were not wearing their seat belts. That’s why one focus of the Click It or Ticket campaign is nighttime enforcement.

The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office will be increasing patrols during the Click It or Ticket seat belt campaign and will focus on improving traffic safety by addressing all observed traffic violations. Motorists are reminded to buckle up, drive sober, and avoid distractions while driving.

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