GLEN BURNIE, MD (May 22, 2023) – The Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) and various law enforcement agencies in Maryland are urging residents to prioritize their safety and the safety of others as they gear up for the Memorial Day weekend. The annual Click It or Ticket campaign is in full swing, with more than 35 law enforcement agencies across the state joining forces to promote seat belt usage and enforce seat belt laws. This year’s campaign will run from Monday, May 22, to Sunday, June 4.
Seat belts have been proven to be the most effective means of saving lives in vehicular accidents. Unbelted passengers can be hurled around the vehicle during a crash, resulting in severe injuries or even death. With this in mind, Motor Vehicle Administrator Chrissy Nizer, who also serves as Governor Wes Moore’s Highway Safety Representative, emphasizes the importance of buckling up. She states, “We’re asking everyone to buckle up. It’s a simple choice that could save lives.”
Col. Kevin M. Anderson, Chief of the Maryland Transportation Authority Police and Chair of the Maryland Chief’s and Sheriff’s Traffic Safety Committee, adds, “Drivers must make countless decisions during their travels. Whether or not to wear a seat belt shouldn’t be one of those decisions. Protect yourself and those you care about by ensuring seat belts are used every seat, every ride.”
To support this initiative, the MDOT MVA’s Highway Safety Office has launched the “Be the BUCKLED UP Driver” campaign. The focus of this campaign is to debunk the various excuses often cited by drivers and passengers for not wearing seat belts. Many individuals choose not to buckle up, even for short trips or at low speeds, but these excuses hold no validity. Data from the Motor Vehicle Administration’s Crash Data Dashboard reveals that 155 unrestrained occupants lost their lives in motor vehicle crashes in Maryland in 2022.
It is essential to note that Maryland law mandates the use of seat belts for every driver and passenger. Failure to wear a seat belt can result in an $83 ticket for each offense if passengers over the age of 16 are not properly restrained. Furthermore, children under the age of 8 must be secured in an appropriate booster or child safety seat unless they measure 4 feet, 9 inches tall or taller.
A new law that came into effect in October 2022 stipulates that children under the age of 2 must be placed in rear-facing child safety seats that comply with federal regulations until they reach the height or weight limit recommended by the manufacturer. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration both advocate for extended rear-facing travel for children, as it provides optimal protection in the event of a collision.
Officials are urging all individuals responsible for transporting children, including parents, grandparents, guardians, and other family members, to ensure they are using the appropriate car seat based on the child’s age and weight, and that it is correctly installed. Statewide agencies, such as the Maryland Kids in Safety Seats (KISS) program, offer in-person and virtual checks to educate parents and caregivers on the proper use of car seats. Additional information can be found at zerodeathsmd.gov/road-safety/child-passenger-safety.
For more information on the MDOT MVA’s Highway Safety Office, visit ZeroDeathsMD.gov or follow them on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @ZeroDeathsMD.
In conclusion, as Marylanders embark on their Memorial Day weekend travels, it is crucial to prioritize safety by wearing seat belts and ensuring the proper use of car seats for children. The Click It or Ticket campaign serves as a reminder that seat belts save lives and that compliance with seat belt laws is crucial for the well-being of all road users. By adopting the “Be the BUCKLED UP Driver” mentality, Marylanders can actively contribute to reducing the number of fatalities and serious injuries on the state’s roads.
Law enforcement agencies throughout Maryland are committed to enforcing seat belt laws during the campaign period. Officers will be conducting increased patrols and checkpoints to ensure that drivers and passengers are properly restrained. The primary objective is not to issue tickets but to raise awareness and encourage a change in behavior regarding seat belt usage.
The Click It or Ticket campaign has been successful in the past, leading to increased seat belt compliance and a subsequent reduction in fatalities and injuries. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seat belt use reached a record high of 90.7% in Maryland in 2022. However, there is still room for improvement, as the remaining 9.3% who do not buckle up pose a significant risk to themselves and others on the road.
In addition to the enforcement efforts, educational programs and resources are available to educate the public about the importance of seat belt usage and proper child restraint. The Maryland Kids in Safety Seats (KISS) program offers valuable guidance to parents and caregivers on selecting the appropriate car seat for their children and ensuring its correct installation. Through in-person and virtual checks, KISS aims to equip caregivers with the knowledge and skills necessary to keep children safe while traveling.
The MDOT MVA’s Highway Safety Office is committed to the goal of achieving zero deaths on Maryland roads. Through comprehensive campaigns like Click It or Ticket and the “Be the BUCKLED UP Driver” initiative, they aim to create a culture of safety and responsibility among all road users. Their focus extends beyond seat belts and child restraints to encompass various other areas of road safety, such as impaired driving, distracted driving, and speeding.
By embracing the message of the Click It or Ticket campaign, Marylanders can make a tangible difference in road safety. The simple act of buckling up can protect lives and prevent injuries. As the Memorial Day weekend approaches, it is essential for all travelers to remember that seat belts are a non-negotiable aspect of responsible and safe driving. Let us all join hands in ensuring that everyone on Maryland’s roads arrives at their destinations safely, protected by the simple click of a seat belt.
For more information on the MDOT MVA’s Highway Safety Office and their initiatives, including the Click It or Ticket campaign, please visit ZeroDeathsMD.gov or follow them on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @ZeroDeathsMD.