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For your sake, buckle up

The annual National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's nationwide "Click It or Ticket" campaign is under way through Memorial Day weekend.

Police are on the lookout for drivers and passengers - especially teens and young adults - who are not wearing seat belts.

It's funny how something so simple that can actually save a life is still being ignored by some drivers. And who's ignoring it the most? Police are pointing a finger at young men age 18 to 34 who drive pickup trucks. They are among those found most often not buckled up.

What's Virginia's law for seat belt usage?

According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, the driver and front seat passengers are required to wear seat belts, and all persons under age 18 must be in a child safety seat or wear a seat belt regardless of where they are sitting. A seat belt violation is not a primary offense in Virginia, meaning that an officer cannot pull a motorist over for that reason, but drivers pulled over for other reasons can be charged if an officer observes a safety belt violation.

Here are some more NHTSA facts about seat belt usage that you might want to remember the next time you get into a vehicle:

  • Most fatal crashes occur within 25 miles from home
  • 3,341 motor vehicle passengers 5 years old and up could have been saved in 2010 if they had been wearing a seat belt.
  • 66 percent of men ages 18 to 34 years old who died in motor vehicle accidents were not wearing a seat belt.
  • 78 percent of those ejected from a vehicle during an accident suffered fatal injuries.
  • 70 percent of those 18 to 34 years old killed in rural vehicle crashes between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. were unbuckled.
  • Seat belt usage is higher in states in which occupants can be pulled over specifically for not using a seat belt as compared with states that have weaker enforcement. Virginia is among those states with weaker enforcement.
  • More than 3 million seat belt citations have been written nationwide during the "Click It or Ticket" in the past five years.

Save yourself some money, and possibly your life, by buckling up today and every day.


FASTEN THOSE SEAT BELTS - and that will do it! How about enforcing some serious laws in regard to this needless chit-chat on cell phones not to mention people who still text and drive.

If someone fails to wear a seat belt and is involved in an accident, that may or may not affect him/her (depending on the accident), however, when people crash because of careless conduct - WE (the other drivers or passengers) can be injured or killed.

Naturally speed could be reduced too - all it takes is building a car that goes only 70 - 75 miles an hour (tops!), but that will never happen because it's all about sales and making money - not safety.

If Virginia ever want to be taken seriously in its efforts to save lives, it needs to make seat belt violations a primary traffic offense. As it is, there is no reason for someone to bother buckling up if they can not be stopped for not doing so. I see it every day, people driving without having their seat belts fastened. I even know several people who chose not to fasten their seat belts because they know they can not be stopped for it. If we want to have the Click It or Ticket campaign mean something in Virginia, we need to have a better way of enforcing it.

First off, I can't take this whole 'enforcement act' seriously when school buses are not required to install seat belts for children riding them to and from school. Just how hypocritical is it that the state insists that drivers of private vehicles must comply while children are sent off daily without the 'said' protections that seat belts offer. Seems that money is behind all that. Make revenue off the private individuals while saving money on the safety of children on STATE school buses.

Secondly. I really don't have a problem with the laws about kids in car seats and keeping the buckled up. They haven't reached the age of majority where they can make the decision for themselves, at least try to keep them alive until they are old enough to make their own decisions, which brings me to point 3; I don't think it's the government's business to protect those that are adults and choose not to wear seat belts by making that action illegal. Doing so is just the text book definition of the 'nanny state'. Since when should the government be involved in saving people from their own stupidity?

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