Buckle up Ohio

The Ohio State Highway Patrol is on a mission this month to encourage drivers to wear their safety belts. Troopers use the catchy phrase “Click It or Ticket” to remind motorists that a fine awaits those who fail to buckle up.

If you do not use your seat belt, though, a traffic ticket could be the least of your concerns.

The patrol launched its current enforcement campaign on Monday, and it continues until June 2 – taking us all the way through the heavily traveled Memorial Day weekend. It is a perfect time to urge drivers and their passengers to take the precaution of wearing a safety belt, since so many people will be at risk of accidents and injuries on Buckeye State highways during the holiday period.

According to the patrol, 84.9 percent of motorists in Ohio used their safety belts in 2018. That is slightly better than the 2017 rate of 82.8 percent, yet still about 5 points below the national average of 89.6 percent. As a result, 1,326 people were killed during the past two years in auto crashes in Ohio where seat belts were available but not in use. More than 6,000 additional individuals were seriously injured under those same circumstances. Another 121,000 people were convicted of failing to use their safety belt while driving or riding in a vehicle.

There is no excuse for failing to use these simple, life-saving devices. Everyone everywhere should make it a habit to buckle up each and every time they climb into a car or truck. By investing a few seconds in strapping a seat belt on, you could spare yourself from a great deal of suffering or even save your own life.

As you head out onto our busy highways during the coming holiday weekend, pause for a moment and consider just how dangerous conditions out there could be. Remember that traffic accidents can happen in the blink of an eye, and they can involve even the most experienced, competent drivers.

Then, buckle you seat belt before you start your vehicle – and make certain that your passengers do the same.

After we celebrate the unofficial start of summer during Memorial Day, we urge you to get in the habit of using your safety belt every time you take to the road. We will be a safer, happier community as a result.