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Officers on alert for seatbelts

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SHERRY LONG
The Ellis County Press

ELLIS COUNTY - Motorists need to remember to click their seat belts before going for a ride.

Law enforcement officials have kicked off a statewide campaign, Click it or Ticket, to crack down on people not wearing their seatbelts during the Memorial Day celebrations.

From May 19 through June 1 state troopers and local police will be on the roads aggressively looking for seatbelt violators.

Checking for seatbelts will be a high priority among other violations troopers look for when patrolling roadways Texas Department of Highway Patrol Sergeant Larry Adams said.

'(Wearing seatbelts) keeps them in the driver's seat to maintain control of the vehicle, and keeps people from being ejected from the vehicle,' said Adams.

Ellis County troopers working regular shifts during the campaign will not issue warnings concerning seat belts.

Not wearing seatbelts can cost residents more than just injuries or death, it can cost money, said Patricia Hickman, Texas Department of Transportation safety specialist.

'If the possibility of protecting yourself in a crash isn't enough, law enforcement will give you another reason to buckle up: a citation can cost you $25 to $200, plus court costs,' Patricia Hickman said.

The Click it or Ticket campaign is looking to increase the average of persons using seatbelts from 81 percent to 85 percent. Every percent rate increase saves approximately 586 persons from being injured and 25 people dying.

In 2001 over 300,000 motorists suffered from injuries and over 3,700 died after not wearing seat belts on roadways in Texas.

Since 1985 it has been the law for all occupants in a vehicle to be strapped into a seat belt.

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