Driving It Home: Click It or Ticket
Starting Monday, the State Police will be keeping a closer eye on drivers and their passengers, making sure they're wearing seat belts. It's part of their Click It or Ticket campaign, which will last these next two weeks. But in addition to tickets, our Megan Cruz has more on a convincing way to get people to buckle up.
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NEW YORK -- "It's the easiest and simplest thing you could do to prevent yourself from being seriously injured or killed in a crash," said Sergeant Dan Larkin of the New York State Police. "Why wouldn't you do it?"
But more than 27 years after seat belts became mandatory, he says some people still don't comply.
"It's uncomfortable, I don't feel well, I was only going down to the store, I just forgot," he said. "But there's really no excuse. Click it or ticket."
Larkin says the national campaign has been successful. Here in New York State, he says 91 percent of people buckled up in 2011. The bad news is that at night, "...those usage rates are considerably lower," he said.
So to continue driving home how dangerous not wearing a seat belt is, the State Police use a number of tools.
"This is our rollover simulator," said Larkin. "We have two adult sized dummies and a child in a child safety seat. They survived relatively unscathed because they put their seat belts on."
But when the seat belts come off...
"Your chances of surviving an ejection in a rollover crash is very low," he said.
If you're still not convinced, then there's the State Police's seat belt convincer. It's a device that mimics a seven mile per hour crash.
"Wow, that really hurt," said the reporter who sat in the convincer.
"You really get a good sense of how much of an impact there is even at that low speed so you can only imagine how much of an impact it's going to be at a typical 30/40 mile per hour crash," said Larkin.
Larkin says he hopes these simulations make a difference.
"If we can get another five percent closer to 100 percent of the people buckled up all the time, day and night, we could save another couple 100 lives each year in New York State alone," he said. "So down below the abdomen area, right across your chest, click."
Larkin says fines for not wearing a seat belt could go as high as $185. It could also mean points on your license - as a driver, you'd be hit with three points for every passenger under 16 who is not wearing a seat belt.