By Governor Dave Heineman
I want to remind all drivers and passengers to buckle up every time for every trip no matter how short or long. We have a responsibility to buckle our seat belt, and ensure our passengers do the same, each time we get in a vehicle.
Nebraska law enforcement, public safety officials and community partners have launched a safe travel campaign. The annual “Click It or Ticket” mobilization began ahead of Memorial Day weekend, is continuing through Sunday, June 2. This is the ninth year our state has participated in this national highway safety campaign.
Nebraska recorded 212 traffic fatalities in 2012, the first year in the past three years that the number of fatalities has increased. For the first four months of 2013, Nebraska has experienced fatality numbers nearly equal to last year. We know that driving safely helps prevent these crashes from happening and using seat belts and child restraints is essential.
So far this year, 75 percent of passenger vehicle occupants were not using seat belts at the time of the crash. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says wearing a seat belt increases the chance of surviving a serious collision by up to 50 percent. Having an airbag adds an additional 10 percent to the chance of survival. Of the 53 fatalities recorded through April, only 12 of the 48 vehicle passengers were wearing seat belts. Most of the unbelted vehicle occupant fatalities have happened at night.
The “Click It or Ticket” campaign continues to be an integral part of our highway transportation safety efforts. This year, the Nebraska State Patrol is joined by 62 other law enforcement agencies from across the state to emphasize the use of seat belts and proper child restraints. Buckling up is the single best way to protect you and your passengers.
With many Nebraskans expected to travel during this summer, we want to remind everyone that it is the time of year when road maintenance and construction work is necessary. Be sure to pay attention to those orange signs, barrels, and cones around work zones. In construction zones, slow down and be patient – it is a sign of progress. When involved in an accident, be sure to safely move any interstate or highway accident vehicles to the side of the road whenever possible. Remember that state law requires drivers to move over for emergency vehicles.
Law enforcement officers will be conducting many special enforcement operations during the next two weeks that will include checking for seat belts and proper child restraints. Please help make “Click It or Ticket” 2013 a success and buckle up for safety.