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Beginning this week, local law enforcement agencies, including the Hazard Police Department, will be increasing the enforcement of seat belt use during the annual “Click It or Ticket” campaign.

As we enter the holiday season, local law enforcement officials with the Hazard Police Department are reminding motorists to “Click It or Ticket.” The annual campaign is part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) high-visibility enforcement effort that began running this week and will continue throughout the month, lasting from Nov. 16-29.

“Our law enforcement personnel see firsthand severe injuries or loss of life when people do not

wear a seat belt,” said HPD Deputy Chief James East. “It’s such a simple act, and our hope is that

buckling up becomes the automatic next step for all motorists after sitting down in a vehicle.”

Throughout 2020, as of Oct. 31, East said there have been eight total traffic fatalities within Hazard, with one of these being a pedestrian. Of the remaining seven passenger vehicle fatalities, six were not wearing a seat belt, said East. Two of the accidents were at night, and both of those were not wearing a seat belt, he said.

Last year, there were 732 deaths on Kentucky roadways, said the HPD. More than half of those fatalities were not wearing a seat belt, said officials.

“Please, help us spread this life-saving message before one more friend or family member is

killed as a result of this senseless inaction,” said East. “Seat belts save lives and everyone — front seat and back, child and adult — needs to remember to buckle up day and night.”

According to NHTSA, when worn correctly, seat belts reduce the risk of fatalities by 45 percent for front-seat vehicle occupants and by 60 percent for pickup truck, SUV and minivan occupants.

“If the enforcement crackdown wakes people up to the dangers of unrestrained driving and

gets them to buckle up, we’ll consider it a success,” said East.

For more on the national “Click It or Ticket” mobilization, visit, www.nhtsa.gov/ciot.