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Buckle up: Annual 'Click It or Ticket' campaign starts Monday

KINGMAN - Buckle up or it could be a bumpy ride for your pocketbook. More importantly, it might even save your life.

Starting next Monday and continuing through June 3, the Kingman Police Department will aggressively enforce seat belt and child safety violations, according to Capt. Rusty Cooper.

The operation is part of the national Click It or Ticket Campaign.

"The purpose of this campaign is to raise awareness of the seat belt laws in Arizona and minimize the chances of being injured in a crash," said Cooper in an email.

Statistics show the effort has paid dividends. In 2010, the latest year statistics are available, there were 497 traffic fatalities in the state. Of those, 47 percent, or 232 deaths, involved drivers and passengers who did not use seat belts.

Last year, seat belt use in Arizona reached 82 percent, a 2 percent increase since 2008.

In 2011, 150 Kingman motorists were ticketed during the campaign. The figure last year was 130.

According to Cooper, an assortment of violations prompted police to issue tickets, ranging from unrestrained children, lap and shoulder belt required, lap belt required and front seat passengers younger than 16 who did not use seat belts.

The fact more people are buckling up is partly attributed to funding provided by the Governor's Office of Highway Safety, media coverage and educational and public awareness activities, said Cooper.

Arizona is both a secondary and primary enforcement state, meaning drivers who choose not to buckle up can be cited if they are stopped for another violation.

However, police can stop vehicles if they observe a violation of the child restraint law. Last year, the law was expanded to include passengers between the ages of five and eight who are not taller than 4-foot-9.

Those children are required to be in a child restraint system.

"Seat belt and child safety use have a proven record of significantly reducing the chance of death and injuries of passengers involved in traffic accidents," said Cooper.

Mohave County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Trish Carter said the sheriff's office has participated in the campaign in the past and will do so again this year.


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