Kirsten Mustain

Grove Sun

Grove Police Chief Mark Morris and Grove City Manager Bruce Johnson traveled to the Pensacola Dam Tuesday to help the Green Country Safe Communities coalition kick off the annual “Click It or Ticket” campaign, which begins May 24 and runs through June 6.

Morris was a featured speaker at the meeting, which was held at the GRDA’s new Ecosystem and Education Center.

“We rely on support outside of law enforcement to help us with this,” Morris noted.

In 2008, 12,671 passenger vehicle occupants died in motor vehicle accidents nationwide between the nighttime hours of 6 p.m. and 5:59 a.m. according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Nearly two-thirds of those casualties were people who were not wearing seatbelts in comparison to 45 percent of the passenger vehicle occupants killed during the daytime hours of 6 a.m. and 5:59 p.m.

Statewide, 348 people who were not wearing seatbelts died in 2008 – 46 percent of the 751 who died in wrecks on Oklahoma roadways that year.

“Night time drivers and passengers continue to be among those least likely to wear seatbelts. Consequently, they are also among those most likely to die in motor vehicle accidents. That’s why Grove Police Department is joining with other agencies in the ‘Click It or Ticket’ campaign,” Morris said.

“We will be supporting enhanced day and night enforcement of belt laws during the coming weeks,” he added.

Claremore Assistant Police Chief Stan Brown said the campaign is aimed at influencing people to create a habit of wearing their seatbelts.

This year the campaign is focusing on nighttime seatbelt use, juvenile seatbelt use and seatbelt use among pick-up drivers. These three groups have been determined to be the least likely to wear seatbelts.

According to a written release, high visibility enforcement such as the “Click It or Ticket” campaign has been credited with increasing the national belt usage rate from 58 percent in 1994 to 84 percent in 2009.

Statistics indicate that seatbelts have saved 13,250 lives nationwide.

“Local motorists should be prepared for stepped-up enforcement activities that will take place around the clock. If the Grove Police Department or any other area agency finds you on the road unbuckled anytime or anywhere, you can expect a ticket – not a warning,” Morris said.