By Mike LaBella
---- — HAVERHILL — State police, local police and most other law enforcement departments will be on the lookout for drivers and passengers who aren’t wearing seat belts during the October “Click It or Ticket” high-visibility enforcement campaign.
Police say seat belts are the most effective safety feature ever invented and have helped save thousands of lives.
The Haverhill Police Department, in partnership with the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security’s Highway Safety Division and over 95 state-wide local police departments, are participating in the Halloween crackdown.
From Oct. 18 through Nov. 1, local law enforcement officers will be enforcing the seat belt law around the clock – day and night. They are prepared to ticket anyone not wearing a seat belt. In fact, everyone in the car found not wearing a seat belt will be ticketed.
Although an officer can’t stop a vehicle just because they notice that someone isn’t buckled up, police said any stops for other reasons — a broken tail light for instance — are likely to result in $25 fines to those not buckled in.
In Massachusetts, preliminary crash data from October 2011 shows there were 37 fatalities and over 275 people with incapacitating injuries who were not wearing a seat belt.
Around and during the Halloween holiday when people will be transporting trick-or-treaters to and from party areas, it is especially important that everyone arrives safely and buckled up, police said.
“Whether you’re traveling across town or transporting party-goers to the next block, one of the best ways to ensure a safe arrival is to always buckle up,” said police Capt. Alan Ratte. “Unfortunately, too many motorists still need a tough reminder that this quick, life saving measure protects them and their loved ones. If necessary, we’ll remind them that they’re breaking the law by not wearing their seat belt.”
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seat belts saved almost 12,000 lives nationwide in 2011. In fact, research shows that with proper seat belt use, 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.
Although this Click It or Ticket enforcement mobilization runs from Oct. 18 to Nov. 1, officers are out enforcing seat belt laws year-round.