The Hawaii Department of Transportation and its traffic safety partners are kicking off the summer with the national “Click It or Ticket” enforcement mobilization. The goal of campaign that started yesterday and runs through June 4 is to remind drivers and passengers that buckling up saves lives.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an estimated 18 lives were saved based on Hawaii’s 92.8 percent seat belt use rate in 2015. Another three lives could have been saved if everyone in Hawaii had used their seatbelt.
“Click It or Ticket isn’t about the citations—it’s about saving lives,” said HDOT Director Ford Fuchigami. “Buckling up should be the automatic step for everyone after sitting down in a vehicle. We want to keep our community safe especially as the Memorial Day weekend and summer vacation season approaches. Buckling up every time you enter a car might be the one thing that can save you in a crash.”
In 2015, 42.9 percent of all motor vehicle occupant fatalities in Hawaii were unrestrained. This includes drivers and passengers. Additionally, the number of unrestrained nighttime motor vehicle occupant fatalities in Hawaii nearly doubled compared to the unrestrained daytime vehicle occupant fatalities.
“Nighttime is especially deadly for unbuckled occupants,” Fuchigami said. “The risks of being unbelted are severe and we need your help to spread this life-saving message before one more friend or family member is killed or seriously injured.”
Law enforcement agencies in all four counties will be stepping up their enforcement activities during the Click It or Ticket mobilization period, taking a zero-tolerance approach to seat belt law enforcement. During federal fiscal year 2016, the four county police departments issued 14,949 citations for failure to use a seat belt and 1,676 citations for failure to use child restraints.
Know Hawaii’s Seat Belt Laws
Hawaii’s universal seat belt law requires that all front and back seat motor vehicle occupants buckle up. Adults and children must use their seat belts and child passenger restraints at all times. The fine for unrestrained occupants on Oahu, Hawaii and Maui is $102, and the fine on Kauai is $112. Drivers will receive one citation for every unrestrained occupant in the vehicle. Violators of child restraint law are required to appear in court, and if convicted, are required to attend a four-hour class and may be assessed a penalty of $100 to $500.
Hawaii’s child passenger restraint law requires children younger than four years of age to ride in a child safety seat. Children four through seven years old must ride in a child safety seat or booster seat.
National Seat Belt and Child Restraint Facts
- In 2015, nearly half of the 22,441 passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes were unrestrained.
- In 2015, seat belts saved an estimated 13,941 people. From 2011 to 2015 seat belts saved nearly 64,000 lives.
- The national seat belt use rate in 2015 was 88.5 percent. The other 11.5 percent—an estimated 37 million people—still need to be reminded that seat belts save lives.
- If all passenger vehicle occupants five years of age and older involved in fatal crashes had worn their seat belts, an additional 2,804 lives could have been saved alone in 2015.
- Among young adults ages 18 to 34 killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2015, more than half (58 %) were completely unrestrained – one of the highest percentages for all age groups.
- In 2015, there were 662 children ages 12 and younger killed in motor vehicle crashes. Of those deaths, more than a third (35 %) were unrestrained.
- Child passenger restraints can reduce deaths by as much as 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for toddlers.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents and caregivers to keep their toddlers in rear-facing child safety seats until age two or until they reach the maximum height and weight for their seat. It also advises that most children need to ride in a belt-positioning booster seat until they have reached four feet nine inches tall and are between eight and 12 years of age.
During the national Click It or Ticket mobilization, and throughout the year, police statewide will continue strict enforcement of the state seat belt and child passenger restraint laws. This media and enforcement campaign is 100 percent federally funded by NHTSA.