Sunday, May 18, 2014 | 2:03 a.m.
Fatalities are up nationwide for unbelted vehicle occupants for the first time in five years, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In 2012, 10,335 unbelted vehicle occupants lost their lives. In Nevada, 41 unbelted vehicle occupants died last year.
These numbers are not acceptable, and the Nevada Highway Patrol is determined to help bring them down.
Seat belts save lives. From 2008-12, they saved nearly 63,000 lives nationally. And in 2012, an additional 3,031 lives could have been saved if all unrestrained occupants involved in fatal crashes had worn their seat belts. We are going to remind motorists to wear their seat belts by stepping up enforcement.
Our efforts are part of the 2014 Click It or Ticket mobilization that runs Monday through June 1. As motorists take to the roads to celebrate the long Memorial Day weekend, law enforcement officials across Nevada will also take to the roads to ensure that everyone buckles up.
Many people think they don’t need to buckle up. They think they are invincible. They are not. Young adults are dying at a disproportionate rate because they are not wearing their seat belts. Men are dying in vehicle crashes twice as much as women and wearing their seat belts less than women. Pickup truck occupants think that they don’t need to wear their seat belts because their large vehicle will protect them in a crash. They are dying as well.
We are particularly worried about the number of unbelted deaths that occur at night. In 2012, 61 percent of passenger vehicle occupants killed from 6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m. were not wearing their seat belts.
We want to ensure that everyone arrives at their destinations safe and sound, so we are letting you know now: If you are not wearing your seat belt, you will be ticketed. We will show no leniency. Our officers are also trained to spot seat belt violations at night, so no matter what time of day it is, they will catch you.
So please remember, day or night, Click It or Ticket.
For more information on the Click It or Ticket mobilization, I encourage you to visit www.nhtsa.gov/ciot.
Jeremie Elliott is a trooper with Nevada Highway Patrol.