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Arkansas families have begun making their Thanksgiving holiday preparations. For many Arkansans, the plans include highway travel across the state or nation.  

Local and state law enforcement officers always wish the safest travels for all, but inevitably the festivities are cut short for some as the result of a motor vehicle crash. The importance of seat belt use is greater than ever and that’s why Arkansas law enforcement agencies are reminding all drivers and their passengers to always buckle-up. It can make the difference between an everlasting tragedy and living to celebrate next year.

Beginning Monday (Nov. 16) the annual U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s national Click It or Ticket high-visibility enforcement plan begins and will be operational for two weeks.  

Aimed at enforcing seat belt use laws to help keep people safe, the national seat belt campaign runs concurrent with the upcoming travel season which typically includes an uptick in traffic volume.

“During the Click It or Ticket campaign, we’ll join forces with other law enforcement agencies across local and state lines to ensure the seat belt safety message gets out to all drivers and passengers,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, director of the Arkansas State Police and the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative. “By far, buckling up is the simplest thing you can do to limit injury or save your life during a crash. We see the results of not wearing a seat belt all the time. The loss of life and devastating injuries that could’ve been prevented with the simple click of a seat belt is saddening when all anyone had to do was obey the law.”

According to NHTSA, in 2018, there were 9,778 unbuckled passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in the United States. In that same year, 56 percent of passenger vehicle occupants killed at night (6 p.m.–5:59 a.m.) were not wearing their seat belts.  

The staggering statistics associated with nighttime travel has prompted the Click It or Ticket campaign to place added emphasis on evening enforcement. Participating law enforcement agencies will be taking a no-excuses approach to seat belt law enforcement, writing citations day and night.

For more information about highway safety during Thanksgiving, go to www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov or call the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136.  For more on Arkansas’ ongoing Toward Zero Deaths campaign to eliminate preventable traffic fatalities, visit www.TZDArkansas.org.

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