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As summer events are planned it will most likely involve traveling in a motor vehicle. Your safety or life may depend on what you do when you enter that vehicle. Effective June 22nd through July 5, the UW-Parkside Police and Public Safety Department along with hundreds of law enforcement agencies across the state of Wisconsin will be participating in the national “Click It or Ticket It” mobilization.

Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teens and young adults nationwide. Consistent safety-belt use is the single most effective way to protect people from being ejected from a vehicle or thrown around violently inside the vehicle during a crash. Teens are needlessly killed or injured in large part because of a lack of safety-belt use combined with inexperience behind the wheel.

The goal is to save lives and reduce injuries through voluntary compliance with Wisconsin’s mandatory seat belt law. However, if you are stopped by an officer for a traffic violation, and don’t have a seat belt on, expect to get a ticket. Not just the driver, but passengers as well.

In 1987 Wisconsin’s seat belt use rate was just 26%. It more than doubled to 56% in 1988 after Wisconsin’s “secondary enforcement” seat belt law took effect in December of 1987. In 2009, Wisconsin’s seat belt use rate climbed to 74% and now Wisconsin’s safety belt use rate is currently 90.2% among the highest ever. Wisconsin’s “primary enforcement” seat belt law, (allows law enforcement to stop a motorist solely for not bucking up). In 2019 44% of car and light truck occupants killed in Wisconsin traffic crashes were unbuckled. In 2019 there were 41,654 convictions for failure to wear a seat belt.

About half of the car and truck occupants killed in Wisconsin traffic crashes are not wearing safety belts. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, motorists who are hurt or killed because they didn’t buckle up create an economic burden, such as medical expenses, for which the rest of society pays higher insurance premiums, taxes, and other public funding.

The “Click It or Ticket It” campaign combines intensified safety-belt enforcement with a public-awareness campaign funded by the federal government to help reduce the number of motorists killed in traffic crashes. The only way to reach the state’s goal of “Zero in Wisconsin” is with the help of everyone who operates or is a passenger of a vehicle.

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In addition to our education features, we’ll be kicking off a series of stories highlighting how parents, students, and educators are adapting to the impact of COVID-19 on education. If this is important to you, please consider donating to our education reporting fund. https://business.facebook.com/donate/1846323118855149/3262802717172659/