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The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Police Department will join hundreds of law enforcement agencies across Wisconsin for the annual Click It or Ticket safety belt enforcement mobilization May 20 to June 2.

“Our officers will be on the lookout day and night for unbuckled motorists. If you’re not wearing a safety belt, we will stop your vehicle and you will get a ticket,” University Police Chief Joseph LeMire said. During the Click It or Ticket mobilization and throughout the year, we stringently enforce Wisconsin’s mandatory safety belt law to motivate motorists to buckle up every time they drive or ride in a vehicle.”

Despite the law, approximately one out of five motorists in Wisconsin does not wear their safety belt while driving, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. This resulted in more than 100,000 convictions for failure to fasten a safety belt last year, an increase from the year before.

More than half of the drivers and passengers killed in Wisconsin traffic crashes in 2011 were not wearing a safety belt.

“Tragically, too many too people are needlessly injured or killed because they believed a crash would never happen to them, so they did not buckle up,” LeMire said.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, all automobiles sold in Wisconsin must be equipped with safety belts, and drivers and all passengers over the age of 4 are required to wear them. Children under 4 are required to be properly restrained in a child safety seat.

Wisconsin’s law is considered a primary enforcement safety belt law, meaning that police officers may stop and ticket a driver like they would for other routine traffic violations. In states where this law is in place, seat belt usage is shown to be higher. As of 2011, Wisconsin sits behind the national average of 84 percent total safety belt use with 79 percent of its drivers and passengers buckling up when they ride in an automobile.

“Consistent safety belt use is the most effective protection against being ejected from a vehicle during a crash or thrown around violently inside it and possibly hitting another person in the vehicle with massive force,” LeMire said. “Our officers take safety belt enforcement seriously in an effort to reach the ultimate goal of zero preventable traffic deaths in Wisconsin.”

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