Local law enforcement agencies discuss importance of Click It or Ticket campaign

CARTHAGE/NEOSHO, Mo. – The national “Click It Or Ticket” campaign is underway this week to help increase enforcement of seat belt laws. We spoke with local agencies on the importance of the campaign and how it helps local law enforcement.

Law enforcement agencies across the nation are out this week enforcing seatbelt laws with the Click It Or Ticket Campaign. That campaign comes with grant money as well, which allows agencies to put more officers out on the roads. Lt. Scott Stanley says “We have deputies that will sign up for the overtime, we’ll go out and patrol the roads, we’ll try to hit areas that have accident rates, high traffic incident areas, and we will patrol that area, look for any hazardous moving violations, pull them over, and of course, if you’re not wearing your seatbelt you will get a ticket.”

Lt. Scott Stanley with the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office says it also allows them to patrol for other violations, like drinking and driving. Newton county is another agency putting more deputies out on the road. Sheriff Chris Jennings says the campaign is an excellent time to educate drivers on seatbelt safety. “I can’t even begin to go over the importance, in all my years in law enforcement I’ve seen a lot of people die in car wrecks and a lot of them did not need to die…it’s just…the stats themselves show, seatbelts save lives.”

Jennings says there are some things that never get easier. “I tell you, it’s really hard especially with children, I still see children all the time running around in cars with no seatbelts, standing in seats, one thing or another, it’s hard for me to begin to imagine…what the parents are thinking.”

Jennings adds there’s dangers to having some people buckled and others unbuckled. “A lot of people don’t realize also that if they’re a passenger with somebody, if the other person has a seatbelt and they don’t, they’ll do a lot of damage to that individual in a car wreck themselves, so it’s important for everybody, not just the driver, but the passengers, everybody to have a seatbelt on.”

He’s hopeful that people will heed the warning and buckle up every time. “I mean, there’s enough death in the world now without unnecessary deaths added on to it…it is difficult to see and know quite possibly a seatbelt might have saved that life.”

Sheriff Jennings says 65% of traffic fatalities in Missouri are unbuckled drivers.