Law-enforcement agencies across the state of California, including the California Highway Patrol, will be on the lookout for drivers not properly buckled up and will begin zero-tolerance enforcement of the state's occupant-protection laws as part of the statewide “Click It or Ticket” seat-belt campaign.
According to Christopher J. Murphy, director of the state’s Office of Traffic Safety, law-enforcement officers will be watching for unbelted motorists both day and night throughout the state between May 21 and June 3.
Both drivers and passengers can expect to receive tickets, not a warning, if officers find them out on the roads unbuckled.
Murphy noted that estimates hold that in 2010 over 1,300 lives were saved by seat belts in California. Another 110 could have been saved if seat belts had been used. Many drivers tend to not buckle up at night and the number of those who died in crashes and were not wearing seat belts was nearly 60% higher at night.
The cost of a seat belt ticket in California is at least $159 on a first offense. If a driver is found to be in violation of both the seat-belt and hands-free phone or no-texting law, they can be cited for both infractions and hit with a combined ticket cost of $318 or more.
The seat-belt enforcement effort supports the efforts of the California Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) to increase the use of seat belts and child-safety seats, Murphy said.
SHSP is a partnership of federal, state, county and local governments as well as of numerous advocate groups and businesses, and community organizations working together on highway safety. The group operates under the premise that "Toward zero deaths, every 1 counts."