AUBURN — Local police will join police nationwide in a seat-belt enforcement campaign next week.

“Local motorists should be prepared for stepped-up Click It or Ticket activities that will take place around the clock,” Deputy Chief Jason Moen said. “If law enforcement finds you on the road unbuckled any time or anywhere, you can expect to get a ticket — not a warning. No excuses and no exceptions.”

High-visibility enforcement, such as the Click It or Ticket mobilization, is credited with increasing the national belt usage rate from 58 percent in 1994 to an observed usage rate of 84 percent in 2009.

In 2008, 12,671 people riding in cars died in motor-vehicle crashes nationwide between the hours of 6 p.m. and 5:59 a.m., according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of those who died were not wearing their seat belts at the time of the crashes, compared to less than half (45 percent) of the people killed during the hours of 6 a.m. to 5:59 p.m.

Vehicle fatalities in Maine for 2008 totaled 108, with 51 restrained and 45 unrestrained and 12 unknown.

“Nighttime drivers and passengers continue to be among those least likely to wear seat belts,” Moen said. “Consequently, they are also among those most likely to die in motor-vehicle crashes. That’s why the Auburn Police Department is supporting enhanced nighttime enforcement of belt laws during the May 24 to June 6, 2010, Click It or Ticket campaign.”

In 2008, seat belts saved 13,250 lives nationwide; 714 of those were in Maine. 

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