Sheriff’s Office Mobilizes for Click It or Ticket Campaign
Extra Safety Belt Enforcement May 19th to June 1, 2014
From Portage Co. Sheriff John Charewicz
Portage County will mobilize along with hundreds of other law enforcement agencies around Wisconsin for the annual Click It or Ticket safety belt campaign from May 19 through June 1. Portage County was awarded a traffic safety grant in October of 2013 that runs through September of this year. As part of the contract for that grant we will participate in the mobilization periods set in our work plan agreement. Our deputies will be watching for unbuckled motorists as part of their regular duties on patrol and we will also have several extra deployments out during this mobilization period. If you are spotted not wearing your safety belt there is a very good chance you will be stopped and issued a citation.
Not only during this mobilization period but throughout the year we are enforcing Wisconsin’s mandatory seat belt law. We are not trying to simply write more tickets. We want people to make the right choices behind the wheel and be safer drivers on the highways. These efforts are also geared at educating people to voluntarily comply and get people to buckle up every time they drive or ride in a vehicle. Our county has just experienced the third traffic fatality of 2014. An unrestrained driver was thrown from his vehicle on State Highway 54 and suffered sudden and unrecoverable injuries in that crash. It was highly likely that a belted driver would have certainly survived that crash. We see this same kind of scenario all too often and it is avoidable by taking the simple step of wearing your belt and making it a habit.
In Wisconsin we still have only about an 80% compliance rate with seat belt usage. That needs to be much higher. It should be much higher because that is the safe and sensible thing to do. More than half the drivers and passengers killed in Wisconsin traffic crashes in 2013 were not wearing safety belts. Just think if all those avoidable deaths and injuries did not happen. If all those friends and families did not have to experience those tragic losses. Many of those losses to young people with a lot of life ahead of them. We are serious about wanting to see drivers and passengers wear their safety belts because when you have to experience things from our involvement, it is really the best decision to make. Consistent safety belt use is the most effective protection against being ejected or being tossed around violently within a vehicle. If you don’t always wear your belts, or never do, use this upcoming time as an opportunity to start a good habit.
For further questions or information on our traffic safety programs please contact Lieutenant Michael Morgan at the Portage County Sheriff’s Office.