Fasten your seatbelts – summer’s heating up, and so is the statewide Memorial Day Click It or Ticket enforcement campaign, which kicked off Monday, May 23.
Through June 5, law enforcement officers in Wayne County and all 99 other NC counties will be patrolling the roads to make sure citizens are buckling up, whether they’re behind the wheel, in the passenger seat or in the backseat.
“Although citizens could face a citation and fines for not wearing their seatbelt, the real goal here is saving lives,” said Governor’s Highway Safety Program Director Mark Ezzell. “Your chances of being killed or seriously injured in a car crash are reduced by nearly half when you wear a seatbelt.”
In 2021, 555 North Carolinians who were not wearing seatbelts lost their lives in vehicle crashes, including nearly 30 over last year’s two-week Click It or Ticket enforcement period.
North Carolina law requires all passengers in a vehicle to be properly restrained and violations are punishable by fines of up to $180. Children younger than 8 years and under 80 pounds must be properly restrained in an approved child safety seat or booster seat. If a passenger under 16 is not properly restrained, the driver faces a $266 fine.
When North Carolina launched the Click It or Ticket initiative in 1993, only 64 percent of North Carolinians used their seat belts. Today, that number hovers around 90 percent.
In addition to increased enforcement statewide, the campaign will include a paid media component, including an influencer campaign where Tik Tok and Instagram influencers will share their own seatbelt messages with North Carolina audiences.
The Governor’s Highway Safety Program, which is an arm of the N.C. Department of Transportation, provides grants to law enforcement agencies for various traffic safety initiatives, including campaigns like Click It or Ticket.