The Ohio Department of Public Safety (ODPS) is joining local law enforcement agencies in an annual seat belt campaign. Click it or Ticket begins Monday, May 19 and goes through June 1.
In this campaign, officers enforce the seat belt laws already in place. Drivers pulled over who are not wearing a seat belt will face a fine.
The goal is to increase awareness about the importance of wearing seat belts. This year's campaign focuses on convincing more motorists to buckle up - day and night.
Ohio seat belt laws
According to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles, all adult drivers and adult front-seat passengers must wear a seat belt. If the driver is under 18, all occupants of the vehicle must wear seat belts.
Fines vary by jurisdiction, but you can't be pulled over for a seat-belt violation only. It's considered a secondary offense. (In other states, such a Michigan, this is not the case. In Michigan, it's a primary offense, and you can be pulled over and fined soley for not wearing a seat belt.)
Children between the ages of 4 and 15 must wear a seat belt.
Children under the age 4 or weighing less than 40 pounds must be restrained in appropriate child safety seats.
In 2007, there were 482 fatalities on Ohio's roads where motorists or passengers were unbelted, an increase from 457 similar fatalities in 2006.
Additionally, 64 percent of those killed after 6 p.m. were not wearing seat belts. That's the reason for the day and night campaign.
"Seat belt use is the single most effective way to protect people and reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes," said ODPS Director Henry Guzmán. "We are committed to working with partners across the state and lending whatever resources we can offer to educate Ohioans about the importance of buckling up, every trip, every time."
Wood County police honored
The Wood County Sheriff's Department held a kickoff event Friday, May 16 for the Click it or Ticket campaign. They were honored for the success their program had last year, including a $1000 bonus prize. Watch the featured video for that story.