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Once again, the Benton Police Department is reminding motorists to Click It or Ticket. As part of the national seat belt enforcement campaign, law enforcement agencies around the country will be stepping up enforcement May 18 to 31, just ahead of one of the busiest travel weekends of the year.  
“Every day, unbuckled motorists are losing their lives in motor vehicle crashes,” said Lt. Kevin Russell. “As we approach Memorial Day weekend and the summer vacation season, we want to make sure people are doing the one thing that can save them in a crash, buckling up.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly half of the 21,132 passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in 2013 were unrestrained. At night from 6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m., that number soared to 59 percent of those killed. That’s why one focus of the Click It or Ticket campaign is nighttime enforcement. Participating law enforcement agencies will be taking a no-excuses approach to seat belt law enforcement, writing citations day and night.
In Arkansas, 59% of deaths related to crashes were individuals who were unbelted vehicle occupants (2010). Also, three out of 4 Arkansas teens aged 16-20 killed in a car crash were not wearing a seat belt.  Almost twice as many males were killed in crashes as compared to females, with lower belt use rates, too. Of the males killed in crashes in 2013, more than half (54%) were unrestrained. For females killed in crashes, 41 percent were not buckled up. (NHTSA)
“If you ask the family members of those unrestrained people who were killed in crashes, they’ll tell you—they wish their loved ones had buckled up,” added Lt. Russell. “The bottom line is that seat belts save lives. If these enforcement crackdowns get people’s attention, and get them to buckle up, then we’ve done our job.”
Also during the month of May, officers will be out in full force making a strong presence looking for drunk drivers and making arrests.  Officers will be working the Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP), conducting saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints leading up to, and including, Memorial Day.  
Approximately 40% of deaths over the Memorial Day holiday are from drunk drivers.  This averages out to approximately 161 people in the U.S. who die every day over the three day weekend from drunk drivers.  Make plans beforehand to have a sober ride or to stay where you are consuming the drinks, because if you drive over the limit you’ll be under arrest.  
For more information on the Click It or Ticket mobilization, please visit   
Sources: NHTSA, CDC, Arkansas State Police