Waterbury Police Lieutenant Scott Stevenson. Photograph by John Murray

   Seat belts save lives.

   Yet, too many motorists – especially those at night – are not getting the message. That’s why the Waterbury Police Department will join with thousands of other law enforcement officers, highway safety officials and safety advocates across the country in support of the Thanksgiving holiday “Click It or Ticket” mobilization from November 14th-27th. During this campaign, officers will fan out across Waterbury, cracking down on motorists who fail to wear their seatbelts, especially those who fail to seat belt their underage passengers. “Children, teens and young adults who fail to buckle up are at an increased risk of dying in a crash, as motor vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of death for young Americans,” says Waterbury Police Lieutenant Scott Stevenson. “Seat belts provide the best defense against impaired, distracted and aggressive drivers, but a seat belt can’t save even one life if it’s not used. This is where enforcement comes into play.”

   According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics, high-visibility enforcement initiatives such as Click It or Ticket are credited with increasing the national seat belt usage rate from 58% in 1994 to 85% in 2010. Seat belt usage saves thousands of lives each year and, in 2009 alone, seat belts saved 12,713 lives nationwide.

   Stevenson urges motorists and passengers to buckle up. “If we find you on the road unbuckled, you can expect a ticket, not a warning. So spread the word to your family and friends to always buckle up. Not only could you save them the cost of a ticket, you could even save their lives.”