TICONDEROGA - For anyone who complains about getting a ticket for not buckling up when driving or riding in a motor vehicle, here's a crash course in reality from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
- 41,059 people were killed on America's roadways in 2007;
- over 14,000 passenger vehicle occupants killed in 2007 were not wearing their seat belts at the time of the fatal crash;
- in 2007, nearly 2.5 million people were injured in crashes; and
- motor vehicle crashes cost the U.S. economy an estimated $230.6 billion every single year.
While those may sound like just statistics, the Ticonderoga Police Department knows from personal experience that those numbers are the actual faces of mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, aunts, uncles and friends right here in Ticonderoga and the surrounding communities.
"We tell too many families about losses that may have been prevented had a loved one only worn a seat belt." aid Sgt. Mark Johns. "This goes to the heart of department's mission to protect the public. That is why we have joined with thousands of other state and local law enforcement and highway safety agencies nationwide to announce support for the 2009 national Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement mobilization, which this year runs May 18-31."
Seat belts can be credited with saving more than 15,000 lives in 2007 alone. Thanks in part to high-visibility enforcement campaigns like Click It or Ticket, this has led to an all-time high observed national seat belt usage rate of 83 percent in 2008-a 25-percent increase over the past 14 years. But the reality is that there are still 20 percent of the public convinced that they don't need seat belts.
Sgt. Mike LaVallie said, "People often ask, 'Aren't there more serious criminals on the street other than those who simply are not buckling up? They're not hurting anyone but themselves.' Unfortunately, that's not true. People who choose to disobey the law by not wearing their seat belts are taking a chance with not only their lives, but the emotional and financial health of their families, friends and our community."