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Seat belt enforcement campaign underway in Washington County

   From May 16-29, 2016, the Washington County Sheriff's Office will participate in the national Click It or Ticket campaign in an effort to save lives through increased seat belt use.

This enforcement period comes ahead of the Memorial Day holiday, one of the busiest travel weekends of the year. This program is funded through a partnership with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

According to research conducted by NHTSA, 88.5 percent of passenger vehicle occupants nationwide buckled up in 2015, while almost half of occupants of fatal crashes were not restrained. In some states, the rate is as high as 70 percent unrestrained in fatal crashes. This fact gravely highlights the need for increased enforcement and awareness of seat belt use. Washington County consistently maintains a compliance rate of over 98 percent with wearing seat belts.

In 2014, nearly half of the 21,022 passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes were unrestrained, according to NHTSA. During the nighttime hours of 6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m., that number increased to 57 percent of those killed. Law enforcement agencies will enforce seat belt usage day and night, with a zero-tolerance approach.