Click It or Ticket seat belt campaign kicks off today

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PHOENIX – In an effort to make sure every Arizonan buckles up when in a vehicle and hopefully save lives, the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety and law-enforcement agencies throughout the state are teaming up for a special safety enforcement campaign called Click It or Ticket.

That program kicks off Monday.

Arizona does have a seat-belt law, but it’s a secondary law, which means police cannot stop you for not wearing a seat belt, explained Alberto Gutier with the Governor's Office of Highway Safety.

Even though Arizona’s seat-belt law is secondary, the Click It or Ticket program is based upon high visibility traffic enforcement with a "zero-tolerance" approach towards seat belt and child safety seat usage.

According to numbers from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, only 82 percent of Arizonans wear their seat belts while driving. When it comes to those who do not buckle up, the worst offenders are men between the ages of 18 and 34.

As part of a special of the 2011 national Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement campaign, law enforcement agencies across the state will be stepping up traffic enforcement patrols and increasing other enforcement efforts to drive home the message: Buckle Up Arizona…It's the Law!

The Department of Public Safety stresses that regular seat belt use is the single most effective way to protect people and reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes. When worn correctly, seat belts have proven to reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants by 45 percent. That jumps to 60 percent for occupants of pickup trucks, SUVs and mini-vans.

Click It or Ticket is a nationwide campaign with some of the funding coming from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Officers from various agencies will be out in force through for the duration of the Click It or Ticket campaign, which runs though June 5.