Police remind public to buckle up for safety as Memorial Day weekend approaches
The Hawai‘i Police Department, in collaboration with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, has launched its annual Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement campaign now through June 4.
The goal of the public awareness campaign is to remind drivers that seat belts save lives.
Hawai‘i Island police along with state and local law enforcement agencies across the country will be issuing tickets to drivers who choose not to buckle up. In Hawai’i County, the fine for not wearing a seatbelt is $102 per person.
During 2022 in Hawai’i County, four people were killed as a result of a vehicle crash in which they were not wearing a seatbelt. So far this year, 33%, three of the nine people killed on Hawai‘i Island as a result of vehicle crashes were not wearing their seatbelts.
“People have to understand that buckling up is the simplest thing you can do to limit injury or save your life during a crash,” said Torey Keltner, program manager of Hawai‘i Police Department’s Traffic Services Section.
“We see the results of not wearing a seat belt all the time. Officers see the loss of life far too often that very likely could have been prevented. There’s no good excuse…Just wear a seat belt.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2021, there were 11,813 unbuckled passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in the United States. That same year, 57% of passenger vehicle occupants killed at night (6 p.m.–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.
Men not wearing a seat belt are more likely to be killed in a car crash than women. In fact, nearly twice as many males were killed in crashes as compared to females in 2021. Of the males killed in crashes during that same year, more than half, 54%, were unrestrained. For females killed in crashes, 42% were not buckled up.
No matter what type of vehicle you drive, wearing your seat belt is the best defense against impaired, aggressive, and distracted drivers. Even if your car has airbags, the safest way to ride is properly buckled up.
Always place the shoulder belt across the middle of your chest and away from your neck, and place the lap belt across your hips, not your stomach. You should never put the shoulder belt behind your back or under your arm. When purchasing a new car, be sure to check that its seat belts fit you.