With holiday travel up, ‘Click It or Ticket’ arrives

Police throughout Indiana and across the country are stepping up high-visibility enforcement of seat belt laws and encouraging seat belt use for motorists and passengers with the annual “Click It or Ticket” effort around the start of a busy holiday travel period.

The national seat belt campaign, which coincides with the Memorial Day holiday, began May 20 and will run to June 2. The effort includes overtime patrols funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) with grants administered by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI).

According to ICJI, Indiana’s seat belt use rate in 2023 was 93.2%, which is good — but experts say it can be better, and that the other 6.8% still need to be reminded that seat belts save lives. The goal of Click It or Ticket is to encourage seat belt use to be automatic for drivers and passengers. Research shows that buckling up can reduce the risk of injury or death in a crash by up to 65%.

Columbus Police Department Lt. Alyson Eichel said the campaign serves as a reminder for everyone to prioritize safety on the road.

“In line with these efforts, the Columbus Police Department is also ramping up its enforcement measures and actively participating in the Click It or Ticket initiative. Seatbelts are a fundamental safety measure, and increasing awareness about their importance is essential. The statistics speak for themselves, and research consistently demonstrates that wearing a seatbelt significantly reduces the risk of injury or death in a crash. Every individual who buckles up contributes to making our roads safer for everyone.”

The Click It or Ticket effort comes on what is expected to be nearly a record for Memorial Day holiday period travel. AAA projects 43.8 million people will travel 50 miles or more, nearly matching the record 44 million Memorial Day travelers in 2005.

“If the enforcement effort alerts people to the dangers of unrestrained driving, we’ll consider our mission to be a success,” said Sgt. Isaac Barkes of the North Vernon Police Department.

“If you know a friend or a family member who does not buckle up when they drive, please ask them to consider changing their habits. … Seat belts save lives, and everyone — front seat and back, child and adult — needs to remember to buckle up.”

For more information on the Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement mobilization, visit NHTSA.gov/ClickIt.