For the next two weeks, police in Virginia will be cracking down on seatbelt violations as a part of the Click It or Ticket campaign.
Every year in May, Virginia’s local and state police officers join the multi-state campaign to crackdown on drivers and passengers not wearing their seatbelts.
The campaign is known as “Click It or Ticket” and sees law enforcement officers across the country cracking down on seatbelt violations.
From May 21 to June 3, expect to see more police officers pulling drivers over for seatbelt checks.
That’s right; this year, the Click It or Ticket campaign falls on the Memorial Day holiday, one of the busiest travel days of the year.
In 2017, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles reported that there were 4,741 car crashes where either the driver or a passenger were unrestrained in the vehicle. Of those, there were 3,512 injuries and 308 fatalities.
From 2016 to 2017, there was actually a 0.5 percent decrease in accidents involving an unrestrained driver or passenger. However, the 308 fatalities represent a 1.3 percent increase year-over-year. Not all of Virginia’s roadways saw the same numbers, though. Urban roadways saw a 3.2 percent reduction in unrestrained fatalities. Still, these numbers have law enforcement and regulators worried.
While previous years have focused on the education aspect of the Click It or Ticket campaign, Virginia police will be focusing heavily on enforcement this year.
Under Virginia law, front seat passengers and anyone under 18 must wear a seat belt anytime the vehicle is in motion. The law does not technically require adult passengers in the back seat to be secured, though wearing a seatbelt in the back seat can reduce the likelihood of a fatality during a crash by up to 60 percent.
For passengers and drivers 18 and under, a seatbelt violation is a primary offense. That means that if a police officer sees a minor in a vehicle unrestrained, that alone can be the basis for a traffic stop and citation. For adults, seatbelt violations are considered secondary offenses. That means that while a police officer cannot pull an adult over for not wearing a seatbelt, it can be tacked on in addition to other common offenses like speeding or turn signal violations.
This is the important thing to know: the driver is legally responsible for passengers wearing their seatbelts. When Virginia police write tickets for passenger seatbelt violations, the driver is the one who is penalized, even if he or she was wearing a seatbelt. Fines for seatbelt and child restraint violations can range from $25 to $50.
Don’t give police a reason to pull you over and give you a ticket. Make sure that you put on your seatbelt every time you get on the road. And if you have passengers, force them to buckle up.
Have you noticed police pulling more people over in Virginia? Tell us what you’re seeing in the comment section below!