By Staff report
Wearing a seatbelt is still the law, but this year, due to the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting state of emergency declarations all across the country, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration postponed the national two-week campaign but will have a modified version beginning next week.
Though the number of drivers on the road decreased during the past two months due to stay-at-home orders to prevent the spread of COVID-19, states across the country have seen a severe spike in speeding and other aggressive driving. This is due in part to law enforcement officers taking a cautionary approach to traffic enforcement in order to avoid close personal contact with motorists. As a result, people are driving faster, and many states have seen a spike in their fatal crash rates.
As people now begin to move around more with stay-at-home orders easing, it is expected that motorists will once again take to the roads in advance of the approaching Memorial Day holiday weekend. Therefore, Vermont law enforcement agencies are urging everyone to buckle up and drive safely. For a 10-day period beginning Friday, May 22, law enforcement officers in Vermont will be on patrol and taking part in a modified Vermont Click It or Ticket enforcement campaign.
“Even with the pandemic on our minds and social distancing becoming the new normal, we know that Memorial Day is the traditional start of the summer driving season. It is critical that everyone buckle up every time they go out, day and night – no excuses,” said Lieutenant Allen Fortin, Click It or Ticket task force leader for Northern Vermont. “The officers participating in this campaign are prepared to ticket anyone who is not wearing their seat belt, including drivers that have neglected to properly restrain their children.”
Vermont law enforcement agencies and the Vermont Click It or Ticket Task Force will be using roving patrols and checkpoints on roadways identified as having higher unbelted crash rates. Officers will be looking for speeding, aggressive driving, distracted driving, and impaired driving violations during this period. These behaviors are the leading causes of serious crashes, and for those motorists, wearing a seat belt is not optional.
“The simple act of wearing your seatbelt is the easiest and most effective thing you can do to increase your chances of surviving a crash” said Paul White, law enforcement liaison with the VT State Highway Safety Office. “We want to make this the safest summer possible. Buckling up is not optional; it can mean the difference between life and death in a crash. That is why Vermont law enforcement will be out there enforcing the law.”
The 2020 Vermont Click It or Ticket enforcement mobilization will run from Friday, May 22 through Sunday, May 31.