By Tammy Moore Teague
The Arkansas State Police will be joining forces with area law enforcement agencies statewide during the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. From November 19 – 25, motorists should be aware that those agencies will be looking for drivers who are not utilizing their seatbelts. State troopers, local police officers and sheriff’s deputies are reminding all motorists to “Click It” or risk getting a ticket.
“The Thanksgiving holiday is typically one of the more dangerous and deadliest times for highway or local street travel. Whether the trip is across town or across the county, distance makes no difference, safety belts and child restraints save lives. During the 2016 Thanksgiving holiday period (November 23 – 28), 341 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes nationwide. Nearly 50 percent of those killed were not buckled-up.”
Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police and the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative said “Unfortunately too many people need a reminder and that’s why city, county and state law enforcement officers will be working overtime this Thanksgiving with a strong Click It or Ticket mobilization effort. Our state troopers will be out in full force to ensure drivers and passengers alike are buckled up as they travel to their destinations.”
An intensified enforcement emphasis will be noticed along Interstate 40 during the most heavily traveled hours of the Thanksgiving holiday and violators will be ticketed. “The Arkansas State Police will partner with several other states including Tennessee, Oklahoma and Texas in an additional enforcement effort designed to protect motorists along the I-40 corridor,” Colonel Bryant stated. “Each state plans to assign a trooper to every 20 mile segment of Interstate 40 during peak traffic hours.”
State law requires that all passengers in the front seat be buckled-up, not just the driver. Additionally, children under 15 years of age be properly secured in the vehicle. Any children under the age of six and less than 60 pounds should be restrained in a child safety seat.
“Regular seat belt use is the single most effective way to protect people and reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Research has shown that when lap and shoulder belts are used properly, the risk of fatal injury to front seat passengers is reduced by 45 percent and the risk of moderate to serious injury is reduced by 50 percent.”
For more information about highway safety during Thanksgiving, please visit 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.