Motorists who refuse, or sometimes forget, to wear their seat belts will have to be extra vigilant this month. LaGrange Police are enforcing safety belt laws, after the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety launched its annual May mobilization of Click it or Ticket Monday.
Officer Ley Wynne wrote tickets to drivers of a car, two trucks and a taxi within one hour Monday morning.
The fine for not wearing a seat belt, he said, is $15 for adults and $50 for children ages 8 and under.
“Anyone without one stands the chance of being ejected from a car,” Wynne said, adding that airbags work in conjunction with seat belts.
Both truck drivers said they did not know the seat belt law, which was revised in July of 2010, now applied to them.
According to the Georgia Department of Public Safety, Georgia law now requires adults in pickup trucks to wear seat belts. Georgia has had a primary seat belt law since 1996, but the law exempted adults in pickups until then.
In a taxi, the driver has to have a seat belt, but passengers are not required, Wynne said.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 61 percent of the 10,647 people killed in motor vehicle crashes between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. across the country in 2010 were not wearing their seat belt. That is compared to 42 percent during daytime hours. In Georgia’s rural counties, 60 percent of traffic fatalities are unrestrained.
Additionally, pickup truck occupants in Georgia have the lowest seat belt usage rate behind cars, SUV’s and vans.
“Seat belts are a small price to pay for your life,” Wynne said.
Click it or Ticket is part of a larger traffic enforcement campaign, the 100 Days of Summer Heat, Lieutenant Del Armstrong said.
The next mobilization, Operation Zero Tolerance, clamps down drunken driving and will begin June 22.