Hawaii's four county police departments are joining hundreds of law enforcement agencies throughout the nation today in the annual "Click It or Ticket" campaign to enforce state seat belt laws.
The state Department of Transportation (DOT) and the county police departments are reminding everyone to buckle up every day, day or night.
The national 2012 "Click It or Ticket" seat belt enforcement mobilization kicks off on May 20 and runs through June 3, but local law enforcement officers will be strongly enforcing seat belt safety laws around the clock and year-round.
Hawaii's seat belt laws require all front seat occupants and back seat passengers ages 17 and under to buckle up. The child passenger restraint law requires children under 4 years of age to ride in a child safety seat, and children between the ages of 4 and 8 years to ride in either a child safety seat or a booster seat. The cost of a ticket for not wearing a seat belt is $92. Violators of the child passenger restraint law are required to attend a four-hour class and may be assessed a fine between $100 and $500, depending upon the number of offenses.
"The simple act of wearing a seat belt can protect you and your family from serious injury or even death," said Dr. David Manning, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) Regional Administrator for Region 9, which includes Hawaii. "Buckling up to avoid a fine is the incentive, but buckling up to save a life should be the goal. A seat belt will increase your chance of survival by 45 percent. So, please, buckle up every trip every time."
In 2011, there were 20 vehicular traffic fatalities between the hours of 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. in Hawaii. Of the 20 fatalities, nine, or 45 percent, were not restrained.
In addition, this year, Tesoro Hawaii is partnering with the DOT by providing pump topper signage with the "Day & Night, Year-Round" message at 57 Tesoro gas stations around the state.