Police agencies across Kitsap County will be conducting extra patrols for drivers and passengers who are not using their seat belts.
The “Click It or Ticket” seat belt enforcement campaign will run from May 14 through June 3, and officials note the enforcement campaign runs through Memorial Day, one of the busiest travel and holiday weekends of the year.
Most drivers realize the importance of buckling up.
According to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, 95 percent of Washington drivers and passengers use their seat belts.
According to the commission’s recent report on safety belt use, Kitsap County is on par with the state — with an observed seat belt use rate of 94.7 percent.
Police beyond Kitsap County will also be on the lookout for unrestrained drivers and passengers in the coming weeks. More than 150 law enforcement agencies throughout the state will be participating in this 17th annual Click it or Ticket campaign.
In Kitsap County, the Bainbridge Island, Bremerton, Port Orchard, Poulsbo, Suquamish Tribal, Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and the Keyport police departments, the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office and the Washington State Patrol will be placing special emphasis on seat belt and proper child restraint use.
Washington passed a secondary seat belt law in 1986 and the seat belt use rate that year was 36 percent.
In the following years, Washington’s seat belt use rate rose and by 2002, the rate was 82 percent. During 2002, Washington passed a primary seat belt law and the seat belt use rate rose to 92 percent the very next year. The seat belt use rate has remained between 94 to 95 percent for the last several years.
During the same time periods, the unrestrained fatality rate decreased dramatically from accounting for 64 percent of all traffic deaths to 18 percent of all traffic deaths.